Manning delighted with last minute winner

Liam Manning said his side deserved the three points
Reflecting on Idris Kanu’s last gasp winner which saw the Development Squad leapfrog Stoke City, Academy coach Liam Manning said his side deserved the victory.

The young Hammers put in a terrific performance against the Potters, yet it looked as though they would have to settle for a point before 16-year-old substitute Idris Kanu confidently despatched his penalty past Shay Given to seal a 1-0 win.

Speaking after the game, Manning said: “I thought we were terrific tonight to be fair. We kept our concentration against a difficult team, who were very organised but we kept our discipline well and they really stuck to what we asked of them. As a result, they got the result they deserved in the end.

“When we look at the stats tomorrow, I think the stats will back our belief that we controlled the game, we had a huge amount of possession but it was nice to see us in good habits during a difficult game.

Sometimes you can force things or take too many touches but we kept our discipline and dominated start to end really.”

In just his second ever appearance for the Development Squad, young striker Kanu volunteered himself for the pressure spot kick having only been on the field a matter of minutes.

Manning continued to praise the youngster’s confidence: “Idris showed great character to take the penalty, especially against Shay Given, a goalkeeper who has had a terrific career. It says a lot about the lad’s character that as an U16 he took the penalty and took that responsibility.”

The victory has seriously strengthened the Hammer’s claim for a play-off spot, now lying fourth in the table with a final game away at Aston Villa, Manning is targeting a successful end to the season.

He continued: “It has been a good season, in the cup and the league. We now go to Aston Villa next Monday and hopefully get the job done then focus on the cup final.

“We can take massive amounts of confidence from a result like this and it brings the group together. We work hard together every day and it’s nice to the results there for all to see.”