Hammers held by Seagulls

West Ham United fought out a tough 0-0 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion U18 at Rush Green on Saturday morning.
After finishing the regular season in 6th place in the Barclays U18 Premier League South, the Hammers welcomed 8th placed Brighton to Rush Green as both sides looked to start the play offs with a victory.
Brighton came out strong in the first half and had the best chance on goal when Jordan Maguire Drew attempted an audacious long range lob from the half way line, which was tipped over by Hammers keeper Sam Howes.
In the second half, both sides spurned chances to secure the points and the game faded out into a stalemate.
U18 coach Mark Phillips once again named an extremely young team, with three of the back four all currently still at schoolboy status with the club. Declan Rice and Tunji Akinola paired up in the central of defence, while England U16 international left back Vashon Neufville again stepping up for a spot in the starting lineup.
Further forward, Noha Sylvestre came into the centre of midfield and Man City triallist Martin Samuelson came in to the Hammers attack.
In the early stages of the game, Brighton pushed forward looking for the early advantage in the game. Connor Tighe and Ragnar Mar Larusson both attempted shots on target in the opening ten minutes to keep Hammers keeper Howes on his toes.
After that spell though, the hosts grew with confidence and Brighton started to get pushed back into their own half. Samuelsen and winger Joe Powell were instrumental in the Hammers working their way back into the game.
Powell fired high over the bar from 18 yards after 15 minutes, before the young winger crossed for Hector-Ingram to head wide while Samuelsen’s shot was blocked.
As the game progressed towards half time, Maguire Drew went inches away from putting the visitors ahead at the break. After spotting Howes off his line, the Brighton midfielder looked up and fired a long range lob over the top of the Hammers keeper, which looked like it was heading in until Howes managed to get a fingertip to the ball to clear for a corner.
Into the second half and Brighton came out as strong in the second period as they did in the first. Connor Pring failed to keep his long range shot on target, before Maguire Drew curled a corner straight off the crossbar.
The Hammers responded positively and they managed to launch a few attacks of their own, through dangerous crosses by substitute Oscar Borg and Neufville, however no West Ham player could get on the end of them.
After that, the game faded out and ended in a 0-0 draw, giving both clubs a single point on the board as thy look to finish as high up the middle group table as possible.
West Ham’s second play off fixtures is when they travel away to Derby County U18 on Saturday 21st March 2015, with kick off scheduled for 12pm. Live updates of that fixture will be available on Twitter by following our U18 reporter @tommywathen and the hashtag ‘#WHU18’.
U18: Howes, Pike, Akinola, Rice, Neufville, Sylvestre, Carter, Powell, Samuelsen, Daingana (Borg), Hector-Ingram.
Subs not used: Boness, Eggleton.