U18s pick up first point

West Ham United picked up their first point of the Barclays U18 Premier League season by drawing 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday
West Ham United picked up their first point of the Barclays U18 Premier League season by drawing 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

After last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at Fulham, the Hammers got off to the best of starts against Spurs when winger Oscar Borg poked home from Noha Sylvestre’s headed pass.

In the second half, one misplaced pass during a West Ham attacking move allowed Spurs to counter and punish their hosts, with Kazatah Sterling confidently burying the ball past the onrushing Sam Howes.

The Hammers made just two changes to the side that travelled to Motspur Park a week earlier. England U18 goalkeeper Howes replaced Tim Brown in goal, whilst 17-year-old full-back Jake Eggleton replaced Marcus Browne.

It took the hosts just eight minutes to test Spurs goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman. After a one-two on the edge of the penalty area between Matt Carter and Joe Powell, the latter curled a testing effort that the Spurs stopper acrobatically tipped over the bar.

Declan Rice headed over from a corner before the Hammers took the lead on 14 minutes when the Spurs defence failed to clear their lines properly, giving captain Sylvestre time to nod the ball through to Borg, who coolly poked past Whiteman. 

On 23 minutes, Jahmal Hector-Ingram almost doubled the Hammers’ lead, only to be denied by a dramatic block.

Spurs fought back and went close on a succession of occasions as the first half wore on. Charlie Owens bent a shot straight at Howes before the goalkeeper tipped a curling effort from Marcus Edwards onto the crossbar and Keanan Bennetts headed wide from a corner.

Spurs finally levelled after 38 minutes when George Dobson lost the ball during an attacking move. Spurs broke and Charlie Hayford used his speed and cut inside Rice to find Sterling, who knocked the ball under Howes and into the corner of the net.

After the break, Spurs came out quickly but it was the Hammers who wasted the first chance on goal. After the visitors lost possession from a corner, Hector-Ingram broke alone used his speed and strength to beat several defenders, before shooting over the crossbar.

Dobson curled wide before being replaced by schoolboy Idris Kanu, while fellow U16 Alfie Lewis replaced Jake Eggleton.

The Hammers continued to press for a winner and the attacking trio of Hector-Ingram, Borg and Kanu worked hard to fashion an opening without success.

In the closing minutes, Spurs broke and it almost looked like substitute Ryan Loft was in on goal, only for Neufville to appear from nowhere to make a superb last-ditch tackle.

The hero of the day was Howes, though, who managed to get down to deny another Tottenham substitute, Sam Shashona, with the final touch of the game.

West Ham travel to Norwich City on Saturday 22 August at 11am in their next league fixture.

U18s: Howes, Eggleton (Lewis 60), Neufville, Sylvestre, Akinola, Rice, Borg, Dobson (Kanu 69), Hector-Ingram, Carter, Powell
Subs not used: Boness, Henry, Longelo