U18s prepared for Liverpool challenge


U18 coach Mark Phillips is looking forward to another challenge for his young Hammers against Liverpool on Saturday.

After opening their Barclays U18 Premier League Tier Two Play-Off Stage with a home draw against Brighton & Hove Albion and an away defeat to Derby County, the Hammers earned their first victory with an impressive 1-0 win over tier leaders Wolves.

With 52 minutes on the clock, a superb pass from Grady Diangana found pacey winger Oscar Borg, who buried the ball past the home goalkeeper.

Phillips was chuffed with the performance, but knows his side will have to replicate their form again this weekend should they want to pick up a result at home to Liverpool.

“It was a very good result but an even better performance and the lads thoroughly deserved to beat Wolves,” enthused Phillips. “We worked hard and that was the only way we could’ve gone out against such a tough opposition because otherwise we’d have seen exactly why they were on such a good run of results.

“In both games prior to Wolves, we played well but didn’t pick up the three points. We had a very young team away to Derby but after a good performance, we lost 2-0.  Against Brighton we didn’t play as well as we knew we could’ve, but we managed to draw the game.

“The key to our goal at the weekend was the vision of Grady to make a perfect reverse pass through the Wolves back line and Oscar finished it really well.”

Looking ahead to this weekend’s fixture, the U18s will host Liverpool at Rush Green in another tough fixture. Speaking ahead of the tie, Phillips warned that his players will have to be at their best if they are to get anything from the match.

“We have to be prepared for another tough test this weekend, but these are the games that you want to be playing in. When you come up against the big clubs, you really want to be showing the big teams what you’re capable of.

“I’m not too sure about what to expect from them but we know that it’s going to be another tough game and if they want to come away with another result, they’ll have to earn the points again.”

Seventeen year old Oscar Borg has been a regular for the U18s, scoring four goals in 19 appearances, added that he was delighted to score the winner and is confident that the Hammers are more than capable of picking up another result against Liverpool on Saturday.

Borg: “It was a fantastic team performance at Wolves and everyone worked really hard to get the result that we wanted. Wolves went into the game off the back of a really good run so for us to go there and beat them to pick up our first points of the play-off stage was nice.

“There was some fantastic build-up play that led to my goal at the weekend. A really quick and clever free kick routine allowed Grady to find me with an excellent pass through the defence and I was there to finish.

“Games against teams like Liverpool are always special because they are one of the biggest clubs in the country. They have a good track record of producing young, talented players so it’s not going to be an easy game for us at all. If we go out and play like we did at Wolves and work hard then we’ve got a chance of getting another win.”

The Hammers host Liverpool at Little Heath on Saturday 18th April 2015, with kick-off at 11am. Parking and admission are both FREE, while live updates will be available on Twitter throughout the morning from our Academy reporter @tommywathen.