U23s secure third consecutive pre-season win with Salford victory

U23s secure third consecutive pre-season win with Salford victory


West Ham United’s U23s picked up their third pre-season win in succession on Tuesday afternoon as they were 2-1 winners at Little Heath taking on National League outfit Salford City.

First goals of the campaign for both Jahmal Hector-Ingram and substitute Sean Adarkwa turned the game on its head in east London after the non-league side had taken a first half lead.

And goalkeeper Joseph Anang was on hand to help out in the closing stages too, saving from a penalty kick to deny a late twist.

The opening minutes were lively but nobody struck a shot in anger until the tenth, when midfielder Alfie Lewis lined one up from 20 yards. Agonisingly for the No8, however, it cannoned off the crossbar and back into play and the score remained goalless.

Two minutes later the visitors – wearing no numbers on the back of their white change strip – attacked but could not find a way past Anang in goal, though just after the quarter of an hour stage, they did so. A cross from the right was floated in, giving the Reds’ forward an opportunity to attack the ball in the air. The header was firmly planted past Anang to make it 1-0.

West Ham went in search of an equaliser and looked dangerous as Anthony Scully sped down the right, but his eventual cross was missed by Hector-Ingram charging into the centre.

The former then had a chance to level the score himself with ten minutes remaining in the half, but smashed it straight at the visiting keeper after Martin Samuelsen’s clever run and lay-off.

But two minutes later, there was the breakthrough for the Hammers. Oladapo Afolayan was set down the left-hand-side and, crossing deep, found Ben Johnson who laid it back to Hector-Ingram. The forward made no mistake from ten yards and the teams went in with nothing between them at the break.


U23s secure third consecutive pre-season win with Salford victory


As the Hammers did early in the first period, Salford smashed an effort against the woodwork just four minutes into the second, in similar fashion to Lewis’ cracking attempt too.

But the hosts were now beginning to take control of the game and could have perhaps taken the lead when Joe Powell, racing forward from left-back, was slipped in by lewis, but shot was blocked on the goalline by a combination of keeper and defender.

With Lewis setting the tempo in midfield, Salford were struggling to keep tracks on the youngster and, bursting forward after playing a one-two on 77 minutes, he could have won the game himself but instead saw a left-footed shot saved.

But with seven minutes remaining, those in Claret and Blue did get their one final chance to win the match, and that they did in style. Breaking clear after a City attack, Scully passed into the run of sub Adarkwa, who slipped it under the onrushing goalkeeper with confidence to complete the comeback.

The late drama was not over there, though. With two minutes left on the clock, a long ball was misjudged by Tunji Akinola and Ajibola Alese – who as a centre-back partnership had impressed until this point – and the former clipped Salford’s forward inside the box.

But as the penalty taker stepped up, Anang sprung away to his right to deny the 12-yard kick brilliantly, and there was even time for another brilliant double save from the Ghanaian to see out the Hammers’ third win from four pre-season games against senior opposition.

West Ham United: Anang, Johnson (Barrett 65), Akinola, Alese, Powell, Lewis, Belic (Trialist 46), Scully, Samuelsen (Ngakia 65), Afolayan (Longelo 72), Hector-Ingram (Adarkwa 72)

Subs not used: Okotcha, Mingi

Goals: Hector-Ingram 36, Adarkwa 83