Kemp takes heart from Villa victory

U18s winger Dan Kemp says the Hammers' morale has been boosted by a last-gasp win over Aston Villa

Winger Danny Kemp was delighted to net his first West Ham United goal and help his team to a dramatic 2-1 Barclays U18 Premier League South victory over Aston Villa.

It took 71 minutes for the deadlock to be broken when Kemp, who joined the Hammers from Chelsea in November 2015, picked up the ball just outside the box and smashed a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.

With two minutes left of normal time, the Midlands side equalised from close range through Harvey Knibbs, only for Hammers trialist Sam Ford to bury an injury-time winner to confirm all three points for the hosts.

Speaking to after the game, Kemp spoke about how he had a feeling that he was going to open his account for the season against the Villans – securing three important points in the process.

“We are all delighted with the result, especially because we all felt like we deserved the three points,” admitted Kemp. “It was a good performance and we managed to get 1-0 up, but sat back and let it slip when we allowed Villa back into the game.

“We worked hard, though, and managed to get a goal in the last minute after some nice play, so we are happy with the result.

“I’m also delighted to finally get off the mark with my scoring and I hope it will be the first of many. I had a feeling before the game that I was going to score because I’ve been playing regularly, having shots and getting assists but was yet to score.

“It’s always nice to score, but it’s even better when you contribute towards the team getting the three points.”

Since joining the Hammers, Kemp has been a regular in the U18s’ starting XI, featuring six times, while he has also made two appearances for Terry Westley’s Development Squad.

All things considered, Kemp admitted that he was delighted how his career is going since signing from Chelsea.

“I’ve been playing regularly since joining West Ham so obviously I’m really enjoying it here at the moment,” he revealed. “It’s a fantastic atmosphere to be working in, surrounded by good staff and a good team spirit both during training and out on the pitch, so it’s going really well.”

Also giving his post-match reaction after the game, U18s coach Mark Phillips told how he believes that the right team came out of the game with all three points at the weekend.

“It was quite a strange game if I’m being honest, although over the 90 minutes and like I told the boys after the game, I felt like West Ham deserved to win the game,” added Phillips.

“We were having a really good second half up until we scored, which was when I thought Villa really came out at us and were troubling us and quite rightly deserved their equaliser.

“When we got the winning goal in injury time, it actually came against the run of play but I still believe that we 100% deserved all three points from the game on Saturday.

“Without a shadow out doubt though, no matter how much we deserved it, there is some relief that we managed to get the win after conceding so late.”

Kemp said the team would take heart from ending their five-match winless run in such morale-boosting circumstances, and will look to make it back-to-back victories when they welcome Southampton to Little Heath this coming Saturday at 11am.

“Looking back to last month away to Derby in the FA Youth Cup when we lost 3-1, I still feel like we deserved something from that game but that’s football sometimes and you get days like this when you manage to secure the points when you deserve them.”