West Ham United suffered a 2-0 Barclays U18 Premier League Tier Two Play-Off defeat at Derby County
Matt Carter started for the U18s just hours after turning out for the Development Squad
Derby County U18s 2 West Ham United U18s 0
Two second-half goals helped Derby County to a 2-0 Barclays U18 Premier League Tier Two Play-Off victory over West Ham United on Saturday.
After both sides had a goal disallowed for offside during the opening 45 minutes, Derby’s Charles Vernam and Kellan Gordon both beat Hammers goalkeeper Danny Boness to give the hosts all three points.
After picking up just a single point in their opening Play-Off fixture at home to Brighton & Hove Albion a week earlier, U18s coach Mark Phillips was without a number of Academy players, who featured in Steve Potts’ Development Squad team at Liverpool on Friday night.
Sam Howes was replaced between the sticks by Boness, while Jake Eggleton stepped in at full-back for of Alex Pike. Noha Sylvestre was paired with Matt Carter in the middle, despite the latter appearing for 45 minutes in the Development Squad’s defeat at Liverpool just 15 hours previously.
Grady Diangana was the only player to keep his place in midfield from the Brighton draw, meaning Oscar Borg, Kieran Bailey and Idris Kanu came into the starting XI form a new attacking line up for the visitors.
The Hammers started the game strongly and were immediately causing Derby goalkeeper Josh Barnes to panic, although Borg’s free-kick from the edge of the penalty was deflected wide of the target before Vashon Neufville fired over from distance.
Derby came back into the match and within the opening 20 minutes they had the ball in the back of the net. However, the assistant referee had deemed that Vernam was offside before he rounded Boness and finished.
West Ham bounced back after that narrow escape and could have led on three occasions before the half-time interval. Bailey watched his shot rebound off the post, before Carter was denied by Barnes and Sylvestre was also caught offside before placing the ball into the back of the net.
Into the second half and Derby came close on the hour-mark when Ethan Wassall headed over from close range. However, six minutes later the hosts did take the lead when Vernam was well positioned in the penalty area to divert Gordon’s pass in off the inside of the post.
Schoolboy striker Kanu had a great chance to level moments later but, after getting through on goal, the young forward fired his shot straight at Barnes.
Into the final ten minutes and Derby confirmed their victory when Gordon turned from provider to scorer after latching onto a long ball to finish past the helpless Boness.
The Rams were then denied a third minutes later when Vernam was released behind the Hammers back line, as Boness got down low to make the save.
West Ham will hope to record their first win of the Play-Off phase when they host Reading at Little Heath on Saturday 28 March at 11am.
U18s: Boness, Eggleton, Rice, Akinola, Neufville, Carter, Sylvestre, Diangana (Lewis), Bailey, Borg, Kanu
Subs not used: Ware, Barrett, Diallo, Henry