U18s battle to win over Southampton


U18s assistant boss Mark Phillips praised the ruthlessness of his side as they ran out 2-0 winners over Southampton at Little Heath.

It was the Hammers’ first game after the festive break and goals from Joe Powell and Korrey Henry, the same combination that earned a 2-0 win over Leicester before the break, saw them prevail.

The Hammers’ aim of finishing in the top four of the U18 Premier League South well and truly on, and they took another large step towards that goal with the win.

“It looked like both teams hadn’t played for about a month. It was quite an even game but we took our chances a bit better than they did,” said Phillips.

“I thought a second goal would have put them (Southampton) to bed. They had lots more possession in the second half but as a defensive unit, I thought we did well.

“We worked hard to do the ugly parts of the game, which is what you have to do sometimes to win.”

Manager Steve Potts was without two key players for the match – regular captain Tunji Akinola and the instrumental Alfie Lewis were both ruled out through illness.

This meant there were starts for Jeremy Ngakia and Bernardo Rosa, with Ben Wells returning to the fold after missing the last few games through injury.

The first half was evenly matched, with the home side looking more threatening from wide areas and it was winger Joe Powell who forced the first meaningful chance, sending a long range effort straight at Southampton keeper Alex Cull.

Powell was given a second bite at the cherry moments later after Rosaire Longelo was fouled 25 yards from goal.

The 18 year-old shaped up to cross but instead curled the ball past Cull for his second free-kick goal in as many games.

The goal gave the Hammers lots more confidence and they were on top for the rest of the half.

They could have doubled their lead ten minutes before half-time when a sweeping move ended in top scorer Jahmal Hector-Ingram being unable to get on the end of a Powell cross.

In the second half, West Ham had to rely on Rihards Matrevics on a number of occasions, producing some terrific reactive stops, but they always looked to add to their lead.

Hector-Ingram skewed a strike just wide, but after managing the game very well, the Hammers got their just rewards in stoppage time.

Korrey Henry gained a yard of space on the edge of the box and found the bottom corner from 25 yards to seal the three points.

“I thought Jeremy (Ngakia) improved as the game went on and did well. Another mention has to go to Jahmal who was being sick on the side of the pitch before kick-off! He did really well to come through 90 minutes.

“I also thought Korrey Henry had a brilliant game. Not only scoring, but his all-round game was excellent.”

West Ham: Matrevics; Ngakia, Eggleton, Wells, Neufville (Hannam, 61); Coventry, Henry; Powell, Rosa (Mingi, 74), Longelo (Hamilton, 46); Hector-Ingram.

Subs not used: Forde, Hudson.

Goals: Powell 17, Henry 90+3.