Midweek test for U18s

West Ham United U18s want to bounce back to winning ways when they host Reading at Little Heath on Wednesday afternoon
West Ham United slipped to a narrow 2-1 Barclays U18 Premier League defeat at Sunderland on Saturday.

Joe Powell netted the Hammers’ goal direct from a corner kick, but the Black Cats turned the game around to take all three points at the Academy of Light.

U18s coach Mark Phillips admitted his team had not performed well enough in the North East and is hoping for better when West Ham return to action at home to Reading in their penultimate league fixture on Wednesday afternoon.

The Hammers host the Royals at Little Heath in a midweek 12noon kick-off, with Phillips demanding an improvement from the weekend.

“It was a very physical encounter at Sunderland in what were horrible, windy conditions,” said Phillips.

“It’s a venue where we have struggled in recent years and just cannot seem to get the results there.

“We took the lead in a fortunate manner from Joe Powell’s corner after just three minutes and could’ve even had a second when Noah Sylvestre went through on goal and their ‘keeper made a great save.

“Sunderland came back at us really well and scored two quick counter-attacking goals. Their second one was a fantastic finish from 18 yards that gave them the lead.

“We had the advantage of using the strong wind in the second half but we didn’t use if effectively and failed to create enough good chances.

“All things considered, I think it was a fair result and we will have to go back to the drawing board to prepare for our next game against Reading.”

Winger Powell, 16, put the Hammers ahead early on directly from a corner, before Andrew Nelson equalised for the home side midway through the first half.

Sunderland completed the turnaround a minute before half time to when Luke Molyneux secured all three points for the hosts with a blistering effort from 18 yards.

Defeat was disappointing for a strong and relatively experienced West Ham team that included Development Squad regulars Manny Onariase at centre-half and Jordan Brown and Djair Parfitt-Williams in attack.

Schoolboy Idris Kanu, who was the two-goal hero against Liverpool in the Hammers’ previous fixture, was made to wait his turn on the bench.

Sunderland came out of the blocks quickly and after being released through on goal, Rees Greenwood’s shot in the opening minute was expertly turned round the post by Hammers keeper Tim Brown.

It was the Hammers who were first to put the ball in the back of the net, though, with Powell’s corner travelling all the way through a crowd of players and curling inside the far post.

The home side equalised on 19 minutes when Nelson sent Jordan Blinco clear down the wing, before getting himself into a positive position around the penalty area to pick up the return pass and fire past Brown.

Sunderland continued to push and scored the winning goal moments before half-time when Molyneux cut in and unleashed a screaming shot into the top corner of the goal.

The Hammers tried to fight back in the horrendous weather conditions and could have taken a point home with them had Brown buried his chance in the later stages of the second half. 

Phillips’ side host Reading in their rearranged fixture on Wednesday 6 May, with kick-off at 12noon. Admission is FREE at Little Heath, with Tommy Wathen providing LIVE Twitter updates at @tommywathen.

U18s: T Brown, Pike, Pask, Onariase, Neufville, Sylvestre (Barrett), Diangana (Elsom), Powell (Kanu), Borg, J.Brown, Parfitt-Williams
Subs not used: Bogard