U18s snatch Bolton draw

West Ham United came from behind to secure a 2-2 Barclays U18 Premier League draw with Bolton Wanderers at Little Heath on Saturday.

After featuring for the Development Squad over the past few months, striker Jordan Brown marked his return to the U18 squad by putting the home side ahead early on.

Bolton captain Carl Kennedy and striker William Abbotts then turned the game on its head with a goal either side of half-time.

West Ham were not going to be denied a share of the points, however, as Brown popped up within a minute of Abbotts' 76th-minute strike to snatch a share of the spoils.

U18s manager Steve Potts welcomed back a number of experienced Academy players into his squad - England U17 international goalkeeper Sam Howes was back between the sticks, while Northern Ireland U19 centre0back Jamie Harney boosted the home side's defensive ranks. In attack, Jaanai Gordon returned to the substitutes' bench after recently recovering from an injury.

Prior to kick-off at Little Heath, there was a minute's silence and a wreath laid on the centre spot by captain Kieran Bywater to remember West Ham Academy graduate Dylan Tombides, who lost his three-year battle with cancer last week. The late striker's family were in attendance during an emotional ceremony.

When the game kicked-off, West Ham started positively by launching a few attacking moves. On two occasions, Brown's crosses into the penalty area were defended well by the visiting defence.

After just 15 minutes, West Ham went ahead when Brown was in the right place to slot the ball past Harry Campbell.

The visitors reacted well though and almost grabbed an instant equaliser when Abbott struck a powerful effort towards the top corner, but Howes managed to get a strong hand to the ball.

Just five minutes later, the Hammers were appealing for a penalty as Djair Parfitt-Williams was dragged down in the box while skipping through the defence, although the referee had no interest in pointing to the spot on that occasion.

West Ham's lead did not last long, however, as Trotters' captain Kennedy fired the visitors level against the run of play on 23 minutes.

In the closing stages of the first half, West Ham had a handful of opportunities to retake the lead, but Brown and Jerry Amoo both failed to convert.

After half-time, West Ham continued to pressure and look to get their noses back in front, but both Bywater and Parfitt-Williams saw their efforts go inches wide of the goal.

Bolton punished the home side's inability to finish their chances when Saul Hamir won the ball back just inside his own half, before moving forward and setting up Abbott to put the visitors ahead with 14 minutes remaining.

However, within a minute of Abbott's goal, West Ham were level thanks to Brown's second goal of the game - the ex-Arsenal forward finishing a good through ball from Parfitt-Williams.

Both sides had chances to win it in the final minutes, but ultimately left Little Heath with a point each.

With Fulham suffering a 4-1 defeat by Manchester United earlier on Saturday morning, the Hammers stay in second position in Barclays U18 Premier League South, currently six points and five goals ahead of Fulham.

West Ham will look to confirm their spot in the Play-Offs when they host Arsenal in their final league fixture this season on Friday 2 May at 1pm.

U18s: Howes, Pike, Harney, Knoyle, Mavila, Nasha (Onariase), Makasi, Amoo (Gordon), Parfitt-Williams, J Brown, Bywater
Subs not used: T.Brown, Bailey, Martins