U23s skipper gutted after Cup exit

  • Declan Rice was left gutted after West Ham United exited the Premier League Cup against Newcastle United
  • The Magpies were 3-2 winners in the entertaining tie at St. James’ Park
  • Rice grabbed a goal himself but could not prevent Sammy Ameobi running the show in the north east

West Ham United U23s captain Declan Rice was left gutted after a 3-2 defeat at Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park on Saturday spelled the end to the Hammers’ Premier League Cup run.

The visitors, reigning champions of the competition, were hoping to get the victory in their second meeting with the Magpies in a week after Monday’s goalless league draw, but Peter Beardsley’s men were winners in extra time.

Rice thought he had won the game for West Ham when he headed in to make it 2-1 with seven minutes of normal time remaining, however Sammy Ameobi curled home superbly shortly after to signal an extra 30 minutes.

Ashley Fletcher’s opener had previously been cancelled out by Luke Charman, and in the first period of extra-time, Ameobi grabbed his second with a 25-yard screamer to put Newcastle in the last-eight.

After the frustrating defeat, Rice said: “It was very disappointing to lose this game. First half, we absolutely dominated it. Second half, we came out and didn’t play the best, but when we went a goal down it kicked us up the backside a bit.

“Luckily I was able to get a goal, but it wasn’t enough and it wasn’t meant to be in the end.

We dominated the first half. We had about 15 chances from what I remember and we showed great character to keep on fighting.

Declan Rice

“It was great to get the goal and we thought it was going to be the winner. It’s always a great feeling to score and I think you can see I enjoyed it from my celebration!

“We had about ten or 15 chances from what I remember. We also had the one where the keeper was fouled but it should have been a penalty to us. If we put that in the net then it’s a game changer.

“We just couldn’t break them down. We showed great character to keep fighting. Terry [Westley] has said he couldn’t fault our effort. We have come up here twice this week and it’s been two long journeys and we’ve worked hard for each other. That’s what we do and it shows on the pitch.”

Ameobi – with plenty of experience in both the Premier and Football League – proved to be the difference on the day and Rice said it was a good experience to face the Nigerian.

“When you get to play against players who have played over 30, 40, 50 games for Newcastle, the likes of Ameobi and Haidara, it’s a great experience and a great learning experience,” the skipper continued.

“Ameobi was very good. He’s a strong player and he’s very good technically and he’s smart, too. He kept coming into pockets and he’s a good player.

“I think we just need to be more clinical to be honest in front of goal. Defensively as well, there are areas, so I guess it’s a mixture of both, but we’ll go back to the training field and go and try and get three points against Middlesbrough to chase those play-offs.”