U18s thrash Royals

West Ham United continued their excellent Barclays U18 Premier League South form by overrunning Reading 4-0 at Little Heath on Saturday.

Hammers midfielder Moses Makasi popped up in the right place at the right time to give the Hammers a one-goal lead at half-time, before second-half goals from captain Kieran Bywater, striker Jaanai Gordon (pictured) and Amos Nasha secured the points.

U18 boss Steve Potts was without defenders Kyle Knoyle and Lewis Page, along with midfielder Josh Cullen, who all featured in the Hammers' Development Squad victory over Southampton U21s on Friday night.

Reece Burke covered in Page's absence at left-back, with former Peterborough United striker Gordon returning from injury to be named on the substitutes' bench.

It was Reading who forced the ball into the back of the net first early on, but visiting striker Harry Cardwell saw his headed goal ruled out for a foul on West Ham goalkeeper Sam Howes.

West Ham quickly responded to the errors that almost saw them go behind and were soon ahead. Makasi was allowed to wander into the Reading penalty area to finish after good team play from Bywater, Djair Parfitt-Williams and Jordan Brown.

After going behind, Reading upped their performance and had several opportunities to draw level, but neither Jake Sheppard, Nana Owusu nor Bogdan Vastsuk could manage to finish past Howes.

The Hammers also had chances to double their lead, most noticeably when Nathan Mavila had the ball at his feet in the penalty area late in the first half, but he sliced it wide after rushing to take his shot.

Into the second half and it took the host's just ten minutes to double their advantage, when Brown broke forward with pace, before sliding the ball into the path of Bywater to finish for his 16th league goal of the season.

Straight after going 2-0 ahead, Potts decided to give Gordon a run out after a recent injury and, just six minutes later, the powerful forward got on the end of Mavila's right-wing cross to head in a third West Ham goal.

West Ham dominated the closing stages and, with just five minutes left on the clock, Nasha scored a similar goal to Makasi's opener by strolling into the box and finishing to rubberstamp the victory for West Ham.

The victory keeps West Ham in third place in the table, but they are now level on points with both leaders Fulham, whose match on Saturday against West Bromwich Albion was postponed, and second-place Tottenham Hotspur, who beat Leicester City 3-0.

U18s: Howes, Pike (Amoo), Harney, Onariase (Pask), Burke, Makasi, Nasha, Mavila, Brown, Bywater, Parfitt-Williams (Gordon)
Subs not used: Guzman, Bailey