Phillips - We deserved at least a draw

U18's coach Mark Phillips felt his side deserved at least a point after they secured a draw against Reading

West Ham United U18's coach Mark Phillips felt his side deserved at least a point after they secured a third Barclays Premier League Group One draw against Reading at Rush Green on Saturday.

Debutant Nathan Trott dropped a Teddy Howe cross after 20 minutes allowing Royals striker Sam Smith to tap into an empty net, before Anthony Scully levelled the tie on the hour mark after good work by winger Joe Powell.

Phillips believes his side could have had a better outcome and was expecting the Academy side to push on and win the game late in the second half.

I think we dominated the second half and no disrespect to Reading but I felt like we were the only team trying to play the game in the right way. I think the least we deserved out of the game was a draw.

We got the ball down and passed it round well, although we didn’t actually create too many opportunities on goal.

We created a fantastic move during the second half from our right back position which ended with a little step over and then Kempy [Danny Kemp] had a shot on target which was saved by the keeper - so I really do feel like we played some good football at times.”

Phillips named another young team as more players are called up for U21 duty and the Hammers coach was delighted with the way the players dealt with the challenge.

He added: “The younger players have had to come in and feature because most of our players from the start of the season have gone up to play for the U21s and you could even see six or seven of them feature for that team in the final.

That’s what it’s all about. It’s about the U18s pushing up to the U21s, who should then be pushing up to making substitute appearances for the first team and also the U16s coming in to fill the gaps in the U18s.

It was Connor Coventry’s first U18 start for example and he played for 90 minutes and controlled the game very well - I was very impressed.

The same with Nathan Trott. I was pleased with his attitude, but I think even he knows that he was at fault for Reading’s goal. Saying that, Nathan is a fantastic goalkeeper and he showed about ten minutes after the dropped catch how strong his mind and character is by making an outstanding one on one save to stop Reading going two ahead.

That really shows that he is going to be a fantastic goalkeeper for West Ham because when you make a mistake, it’s hard to keep your mind in the game but Nathan did very well with that.”

With three games left to play in Group One, Phillips was delighted to qualify for the elite group and believes the young Hammers have competed well with older and stronger players.

I am pleased with the way the Play-Off stage is going. I was very keen for us to qualify because it’s nice to be able to test our younger players against the best opposition in the country and in all honesty, we’ve played well and competed so I’m very happy with that.”

Up next for the Academy is the rearranged home fixture against Liverpool, which is scheduled for Saturday 23 April at Little Heath.

U18: Trott, Carter, Eggleton, Akinola, Neufville, Sylvestre (c), Scully (Longelo), Coventry, Powell, Kanu, Kemp. Subs not used: T Brown, Johnson, Hannam