Foxes frustrate U18s

West Ham United wasted a number of golden opportunities as they settled for a 0-0 Barclays U18 Premier League draw with Leicester City at Little Heath.

In a competitive fixture, the Hammers had several chances to grab a victory through striker Idris Kanu, midfielder George Dobson and substitute Declan Rice, but failed to beat Leicester goalkeeper Max Bramley.

The Hammers made four changes to the side that suffered a 3-1 defeat at Norwich City a week earlier. Rice, along with Jake Eggleton, Joe Powell and Jahmal Hector-Ingram were replaced by Kanu, Dobson, Vashon Neufville and Grady Diangana.

With just seconds on the clock, the Hammers launched the first attack of the game and almost caught their visitors sleeping. After Dobson and Diangana linked up well, the ball was threaded through to Kanu, who forced a low save from Bramley.

After just five minutes, it was the trio of Dobson, Diangana and Kanu that linked up once again but the latter fired his shot wide.

West Ham were creating chances and were denied by the woodwork when Diangana’s shot from over 20 yards beat Bramley but bounced clear off the crossbar.

Leicester had gone close a couple of times themselves and could have led on 22 minutes when Layton Ndukwu’s corner found the free head of Alex Pascanu, but the centre-half nodded high over the bar from six yards.

The Foxes were twice denied by excellent sliding challenges from Neufville, before West Ham wasted two more chances to break the deadlock as Dobson headed over and Diangana dragged Marcus Browne’s through ball wide – albeit after the assistant had raised a flag for offside.

Rice, fresh from Ireland U17 duty in Hungary this week, replaced Josh Pask at half-time, and West Ham resumed their unsuccessful assault on the Leicester goal.

Browne’s cross-field pass found captain Noha Sylvestre, who powered forward into space but fired a shot over the crossbar.

The lively Browne (pictured, above) was involved again moments later, collecting Bramley’s sliced backpass before being tackled and fouled by the goalkeeper outside the penalty area. The stopper escaped a red card and then saved Browne’s free-kick!

Akinola, birthday boy Oscar Borg, Browne and Rice all fired shots off target as the Hammers continued to lay siege to the Foxes goal, but they were forced to settle for a point when the former was sent-off for a second bookable offence.

The Hammers, who are still looking for their first victory of the season, will travel to London Colney to face Arsenal on Tuesday 8 September, with kick-off at midday.

U18s: T Brown, Sylvestre, Akinola, Pask (Rice 46), Neufville, Dobson, Carter, Diangana (Henry 68), Browne, Borg, Kanu
Subs not used: Eggleton, Lewis