Unlucky U18s exit Youth Cup

West Ham United were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup after an unfortunate 3-1 third-round defeat at Derby County.

Two own-goals saw the Rams through to the fourth round after extra-time on a dramatic Friday evening at the iPro Stadium.

The hosts went ahead after 12 minutes when James Carvell’s free-kick on the edge of the box deflected in off the back of Hammers goalkeeper Sam Howes, before midfielder Marcus Browne fired home from the penalty spot on his 18th birthday to level after Josh Pask was fouled in the box.

Nothing could separate the two sides in normal time, meaning the game went to extra-time. There Declan Rice’s block on Timi Elsnik’s shot could only divert the ball into the corner of the Hammers net.

And the Rams made sure their name was in the hat in the final seconds when Carvell bent an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner of the net.

West Ham had made six changes to the squad that were defeated 4-0 away at Barclays U18 Premier League South leaders Chelsea in their previous match. Pask, Rice, Browne, George Dobson, Grady Diangana and captain Matty Carter all returned to the starting XI in place of Noha Sylvestre, Alfie Lewis and Ajibola Alese, with Joe Powell, Anthony Scully and Danny Kemp all dropping to the bench.

After falling at the same hurdle in the past two seasons away to Accrington Stanley and Southampton, the Hammers looked sharp in the early stages and had the first effort on goal, but England U17 international Jahmal Hector-Ingram could only find the side netting after bursting into the penalty area.

It was the hosts that would score first, though, when Pask bought down Alex Babos. That allowed Carvell a chance at goal which he took, although his effort only found the the net via the underside of the crossbar and unlucky goalkeeper Howes.

West Ham immediately set about looking for an equaliser, but efforts on goal from Rice, Browne and Oscar Borg failed to find a way past Rams stopper Joshua Barnes.

On the half-hour mark though, West Ham were presented with an opportunity to level the scores when Pask was fouled in the penalty box when lining up a shot. It was the responsibility of Browne to cap his birthday with a confidently converted penalty kick.

The game was level at the break and then, just after half time, Derby almost retook the lead. From a whipped cross into the box, Howes was forced into a brilliant reaction save, before the woodwork denied Derby defender Ethan Wassall from the rebound.

It did not take long for West Ham to regain control of proceedings, with Barnes saving from Hector-Ingram and Diangana denied by a fantastic block by a home defender.

Just after the hour, Diangana had a golden opportunity to put the visitors ahead when a deflected shot found the 17-year-old in a one-on-one situation, but the young winger bent his shot just past the far post.

As the game closed in on the end of normal time, Browne looked intent on extending his birthday celebrations by scoring the winner, but his low shot from distance narrowly missed the target.

It took until the second half of extra time and the 110th minute for a decisive goal to be scored and it was another unfortunate own goal by the Hammers. After the ball fell to Elsnik on the edge of his box, his low shot was deflected into the bottom left corner of the net off Republic of Ireland U17 international Rice.

That goal was hard to take for the visitors after such a hardworking performance, but it would get even worse in the final few minutes.

After Howes was penalised for handling the ball outside of his own box, Carvell stepped up and curled an outstanding free-kick off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.

The Academy have now ended their pre-Christmas fixtures and will return to action in the New Year with a trip to Reading on Saturday 9 January at 11am.

U18s: Howes, Akinola (Scully), Rice, Pask, Neufville, Carter (Kemp), Dobson, Browne, Diangana, Borg (Powell), Hector-Ingram
Subs not used: Bogard, Diallo