A Bernardo Rosa hat-trick sealed a perfect opening day win for West Ham United’s U18s on Saturday as they were 4-1 winners over Norwich City in the Premier League U18 division.
The Brazilian gave the Hammers the lead in the first half before Veron Parkes added another early in the second half.
The Canaries pulled one back to make a game of it, but two penalties dispatched by Rosa himself put the visitors out of sight and secured three points for the new duo of coaches – Jack Collison and Mark Phillips – in the dugout.
The Hammers came racing out the blocks and looked dangerous on the counter all game, with Parkes and Rosa being complemented by Odysseas Spyrides and Emmanuel Longelo in attack.
They nearly took the lead after just six minutes when a spot-kick was awarded, but the latter stepped up and could not find the back of the net.
Continuing to exploit the Norwich defence though, West Ham were driving forward in numbers when the ball turned over and soon went ahead.
On the left-hand-side, Rosa played a neat one-two with a teammate before firing across the goalkeeper from an acute angle to make it 1-0 and open his account for the season.
It was a really pleasing performance in the way that we attacked all game. We really took the game to Norwich with our speed and counter attacking play
After the restart, the Canaries barely had time to settle before they found themselves two down. Parkes dribbled forward with the ball, beat his man one-on-one before smashing past the keeper with a fierce shot for 2-0.
Norwich bagged a goal back but soon the Hammers were awarded another spot-kick, and with Rosa this time stepping up, no mistake was made as the game was put beyond the Norfolk side’s reach.
A third penalty of the afternoon was signalled for seven minutes later – and with 20 remaining – and Rosa was not missing the chance to bag his hat-trick and seal what was a fine opening day performance for the Hammers.
After the game, a delighted Terry Westley, Academy Director, said: “It was a really pleasing performance in the way that we attacked all game. We really took the game to Norwich with our speed and counter attacking play.
“The four of Parkes, Longelo, Rosa and Spyrides were terrific and frightened Norwich all game. We looked very dangerous.
“With Joseph Anang in goal, Ajibola Alese in defence and Kristijan Belic in midfield, we had a real spine of players who have played U23 football and they shone as well.
“They gave us a platform to win the game and that’s what we did comfortably on Saturday.”
West Ham United: Anang, Ngakia, Alese, Baptiste (Okotcha 69), McGeachy (Greenidge 58), Belic, Nebyla (Forson 69), Spyrides, Rosa, Parkes, Longelo
Goals: Rosa 35, 61 pen, 68 pen, Parkes 47,