Five wins in a row!

West Ham United made it five Barclays U18 Premier League victories on the bounce by beating Brighton & Hove Albion
Grady Diangana’s first-half goal secured West Ham United’s fifth straight Barclays U21 Premier League win – a 1-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.

Diangana’s goal came after 26 minutes when, from a West Ham corner, the ball fell to the attacker just six yards from goal, from where we turned and smashed low into the corner.

The Hammers made four changes to the side that had made it four on the bounce at Aston Villa the previous Saturday. Sam Howes returned between the sticks after international duty with England U19s, as Tim Brown dropped to the bench, while George Dobson, Josh Pask and Idris Kanu were replaced in the starting XI by Jahmal Hector-Ingram, Matt Carter and Marcus Browne.

It almost started horribly for the Academy when, straight from kick-off, the Seagulls launched a quick attack on goal and Danny Mandriou forced a strong save from Howes. Brighton kept up the pressure, but neither Mandriou nor Tom Byrne could find a way past Howes.

After the opening 15 minutes, though, the hosts started to get some control on the game and it was the attacking threat of Browne, Diangana, Hector-Ingram, Joe Powell and Oscar Borg that caused the visitors all sorts of problems.

On 26 minutes, the Hammers won a corner after Borg’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was blocked and from it, Diangana held off his defender well to spin and finish well into the corner.

The Academy ended the half strongly and took that into the second half as Brighton, who had only won two of their nine Barclays U18 Premier League South fixtures prior to Thursday’s match, found it extremely difficult to break through the home side’s defensive shape.

West Ham thought they deserved a penalty after 49 minutes when it appeared that England U17 striker Hector-Ingram was thrown to the floor by a visiting defender, but the referee showed little interest in the Hammers appeals.

As the second half continued, the hosts could not afford to be complacent and were almost punished for not picking up their markers when a ball into the Hammers box was headed off the top of the crossbar.

West Ham heeded the warning and raised the pressure on the Seagulls and had two more fantastic chances to double their lead, but captain Noha Sylvestre’s shot was blocked by George Cox after he had rounded goalkeeper Bailey Vose, before Borg watched his header bounce off the post and out of play via Vose’s back.

The home coaches Steve Potts and Mark Phillips called for a show of character from the touchline and their team played out the game well, securing their fifth Barclays U18 Premier League South victory in a row.

That result took the Hammers up to fourth place in the table, having now won half of their ten league fixtures to date.

The Academy will be hoping to extend their winning run to six when they make the long trip to Swansea City on Saturday 24 October.

U18s: Howes, Eggleton, Akinola, Rice, Borg, Carter, Sylvestre, Powell, Browne (Neufville), Diangana, Hector-Ingram
Subs not used: Brown, Kanu, Lewis, Longelo.