Young defenders bag maiden strikes

Stephen Hendrie and Doneil Henry were on target against Liverpool
Two young Hammers were on the scoresheet for the very first time for the Under-21s as West Ham United beat Liverpool 3-2 in the semi-final of the Premier League U21 Cup.
Doneil Henry equalised with United’s first to make it 1-1 at Rush Green before Stephen Hendrie popped up with an extra-time winner.
The full-back’s late strike – a rocket with the outside of his boot from outside the box – sent the hosts through to the two-legged final where they will face Hull City.
After the goal, which will live long in the memory, Hendrie said: “It felt amazing obviously when it hit the back of the net. As it left my foot, I knew it was one of those ones you know are going to hit the back of the net.
“Obviously it’s the goal to send us through to the final so I’m buzzing with it.
“I’ve been out on loan getting game time but when it went to extra-time, I felt fine. The last game we went to extra time in we were knackered, pulling up with cramp, but today I felt fine so hopefully that’s my fitness levels getting better and better each game.”
Fellow defender Henry, who stabbed home a loose ball inside the penalty area early in the second half, always felt the Hammers had the confidence to win the game.
“The first goal got the spirits high. We knew we could win the game and it’s about playing and believing in ourselves.
“A lot of emotion went into [my goal]. It’s been a long time coming. I’m just trying to get games and everybody was up for the challenge against Liverpool.
“Big credit goes to the manager Terry. We’ve been working hard all week and the lead up to the game started two or three weeks ago when we really started working on the game and believing and thinking.
“We keep saying it’s been two years since we’ve had this group of players and the programme keeps changing but the core of this group is really good at the moment. So we definitely knew we could take it to Liverpool today at home and the fans were great today.
“[Even at 2-2] we knew that we could go on and get the winner. We made it really difficult and complicated for ourselves but the way Stephen finished it off; what a relief and a great way to finish the match.”
The Under-21s will get the chance to grace the Boleyn Ground pitch one more time too, as the home final leg must be played at the club’s main stadium, and Hendrie is confident of a result.
“Of course we can win it,” he said. “We can beat anyone. But it’s going to be a hard game and it’s a two-leg final so we just need to wait until that comes and we’ll take it when it does.”