U18s begin Merit Group A with defeat


  • West Ham United U18s were beaten 4-0 by Chelsea at Little Heath
  • The Hammers responded well in the second half and could have easily pulled goals back
  • Captain Tunji Akinola believes the game will stand them in good stead for the rest of the Merit Group

West Ham United U18s battled resiliently but ultimately came up against top opposition in the form of Chelsea, as the Hammers went down 4-0 at Little Heath.

Chelsea are in FA Youth Cup semi-final action next week and showed their quality in the first-half. Two goal from Callum Hudson-Odoi and a penalty Luke McCormick saw the Blues cruise to a 3-0 lead inside 25 minutes.

The Hammers tried to force things in the second half, despite going four down on 48 minutes through Cole Dasilva. Korrey Henry had a penalty saved and Jahmal Hector-Ingram missed a header from close range, but the Hammers ultimately left their first Merit Group A match with no points.

"Being in the Elite Stage, we have to expect tough tests like this one. All the teams are of high calibre and we need to up our performance to match that," said captain Tunji Akinola.

"Chelsea have got quality, but one thing we noticed is that they really want it. They ran, they pressed and they didn't stop until the 90th minute.

"That's something we can take from the game. I don't think we kept the ball well enough today and that's what hurt us."

The Hammers will now dust themselves now and be ready for a trip to Reading next week, a match that captain Akinola says they’ll be ready for.  

"Reading should be a game that we're looking to win. They're not of the calibre of Chelsea. In the rest of the Elite phase games, we need to stamp our authority on the game from the start."