West Ham United U18s 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur U18s
West Ham United U18s boss Steve Potts was left with mixed emotions after his side let a two-goal lead slip before fighting back to draw 3-3 with Tottenham Hotspur at Little Heath on Saturday.
Potts' side have made a bright start to the Barclays U18 Premier League South Group, having convincingly beaten West Bromwich Albion 3-1 and drawn 0-0 with Leicester City.
The Hammers initially continued their good run of form against Spurs, starting brilliantly when striker Jordan Brown and defender Manny Onariase put the Hammers two goals up after only 17 minutes. However, Tottenham responded well as Joe Pritchard and Luke Amos scored to level the game. Spurs made a bright start to the second half as Josh Onomah fired the away side in front, before Brown netted his second goal of the game to secure the Hammers a point.
"I thought the players were a little bit naive when they were 2-0 up because Tottenham are a good team and managed to find the gaps to get the game back to 2-2 by half-time," Potts reflected. "In the second half, we came out and played much better. When we went 3-2 down, we worked hard to bring the game back to 3-3, which showed effort and commitment from the team."
Both sides had several chances to take all three points and Potts feels that there are areas of their performance that need further attention in training.
"There were certain areas of the team performance where I thought the boys played well and other areas where we let ourselves down," he continued. "I spoke to the lads after the game about ways that we can manage different parts of our performance and manage certain areas of the pitch, which we could've managed better but will work on more in training.
"There is still plenty to work on with the lads but there are certain parts in all three games this season where the lads have played really well, so we will get back to training and prepare for our next game."
Potts is satisfied with a return of five points from an unbeaten start, particularly in the light of so many of his regulars being called away to represent the first team and Development Squad.
Speaking about how the U18s' season has started so far, Potts explained: "We've had quite a few new lads come into this team, which has been different because we had quite a settled squad last season. The new players have come in and we have even had schoolboys featuring for us in the early part of the season which is good for their development."
Recently, the Academy have seen some of their players push up as far as the first team, including centre-half Reece Burke, who played the full 120 minutes in the Capital One Cup defeat by Sheffield United, and defenders Lewis Page and Reece Oxford, who were named as substitutes on the night.
Potts, a former West Ham youth player himself and father of recent Academy graduate Dan Potts, said proudly, "I'm really pleased for any of the lads that push on to a higher level. It's a fantastic opportunity for them. That's what we as an Academy are here for so hopefully they carry on improving."
U18s: Howes, Pike, Onariase, Akinola, Knoyle, Browne, Sylvestre (Neufville), Parfitt-Williams, Adebayo (Powell), Diangana, Brown (Sheriff)
Subs not used: Linley, Bogard