West Ham United U18 coach Mark Phillips said his side deserved their 2-0 away win at Brighton & Hove Albion on the final day of the regular season.
Former Chelsea winger Dan Kemp netted his fourth goal in as many games from the penalty spot, before Grady Diangana netted an audacious 30 yard lob to seal victory.
Speaking to after the game, Phillips said his side deserved the three points despite not being the best performance of the season: “I think we just shaded it to be honest. It wasn’t our best performance of the season but I still feel like we did enough to deserve the win.
“It was a clear penalty in the first half, then a fantastic goal in the second half to confirm the win so I’m delighted.
“We’ve played much better in other games this season and come away with nothing, so it’s nice to put in a decent performance and take the points.”
Since the turn of the year, the Hammers have won four from five games, and Phillips continued to describe his optimism at finishing in the top four.
“I’m always an optimist and I was confident that we’d get the four wins we needed. Some of those wins over the past few weeks have been very hard work but I did fancy us for the win against Brighton from the start.
“Now all we can do is sit and wait for the rest of the results to come through.”
During the second half, midfielder Diangana netted yet another goal with an audacious effort from 30 yards after intercepting a clearance from the edge of the box, which the 18 year-old described as one of the best goals of his career to date.
“We are all very delighted with the result against Brighton because that now puts us in the top four and hopefully, if other results go our way now, we can stay there,” added Diangana. “Every player has given 100% from the goalkeeper, through the defence and the midfield to the strikers so we’ve all worked hard for the results recently.
“It was a very good performance against Brighton, especially in the second half when my legs were tired and we all stuck together to get to the end and get the win.
“I saw the Brighton goalkeeper come to the edge of his box and try to play the ball out, but I intercepted it and remembered that he was on the edge of his box so I hit it first time and the ball went in.
“It’s definitely one of the better goals I’ve scored in my career so far.”
The Hammers have now concluded their regular season fixture list, ending their 22 games with eleven victories, four draws and only seven defeats, giving them 37 points from the season.
Once the other teams in the league have completed their fixtures in both the Northern and Southern league, the two leagues will split into three four-team groups based on league position. Each team will then enter the end-of-season play-off stage against the matching teams in the Northern division.