Westley - We were good

Terry Westley was delighted with a dominant performance
Academy director Terry Westley spoke of his pride at the impressive performance his young Hammers put in away at St James’ Park.

Captained by Marcus Browne, Westley’s charges started with six players who are still eligible for the U18s, and a further two came on off the bench to record an emphatic 4-1 win.

The Hammers got off to a terrific start as Browne opened the scoring after just eight minutes volleying Stephen Hendrie’s searching cross in off the post.

Speaking at full-time Westley said: “We had a lot of youngsters out there tonight, and it could have gone one of two ways. Thankfully we’ve come through it, and we’ve also played well. In parts some of the best football we’ve played.

“Players like Noha and Matty Carter will learn a lot from tonight, so there are a lot of positives for us to take away.”

Things got even better as Moses Makasi, ever-present at the heart of midfield doubled the lead, slotting home coolly after an intricate one-touch move involving Tunji Akinola and Sam Ford.

An excellent first half was rounded off when Dan Kemp scored on his first start for the U21s, converting Stephen Hendrie’s pinpoint cross from close range. 

Into the second period and the Hammers were just as clinical. Youngster Matt Carter got in on the goalscoring act as he lifted the ball over goalkeeper Pearson from distance. The midfielder was rightly delighted.

Westley continued: “I thought Marcus Browne in particular was fantastic, he really took the captaincy on well and really led from the first minute onwards.

“He’s done ever so well recently in among the first team and he’s enjoying his football. When he’s on this type of form he’s a joy to watch and it’ll be interesting to see how far he goes.”

Following tonight’s convincing win, attentions will quickly turn to Wednesday’s mouth-watering semi-final with Liverpool on Wednesday 16 March.

Westley finished by saying: “In terms of preparation, tonight was about as perfect as it could have been. We wanted to win tonight, and thankfully we did, but we had half an eye on Wednesday.

“A lot of people have put themselves in contention for a start, and that’s exactly the situation we wanted to be in.

“It’s a headache, but a good one, we are in a good position and very much looking forward to the tie.”