West Ham United’s U23s began the new year in style on Saturday as they travelled to Manchester City and thrashed their hosts 5-1.
In an enthralling game at the City Football Academy, goals from Joe Powell, Dan Kemp – who bagged two – Amadou Diallo and Sean Adarkwa gave the visitors all three points.
With Liam Manning and Steve Potts’ side on a bad run of form having lost their last three matches before Christmas, the result was much-needed and couldn’t have been secured in better style.
And it began in ideal fashion for the Hammers, who were awarded a spot kick after just 45 seconds when Jahmal Hector-Ingram was fouled on the left-hand-side of the penalty area. Powell stepped up to confidently tuck away his sixth goal of an impressive season.
City hit back though and after a quarter of an hour were level when Benjamin Garre found the back of the net after West Ham had given the ball away.
But five minutes later, there was more joy for the Irons as Powell’s set-piece caused havoc in the penalty area. First, Josh Pask rose highest to win a header before the ball pinged around the box, eventually falling to Kemp who tucked the ball away to make it 2-1.
With the Hammers set to go into the break in front, they ensured the half-time team-talk would be even more cheerful when 15-year-old winger Amadou Diallo cut inside from the left and fired low into the net to score his second U23 goal on just his second Premier League 2 appearance.
After the interval, Nathanael Ogbeta was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Hector-Ingram, therefore making West Ham’s task easier.
And with one minute of normal time remaining, substitute Adarkwa got in on the act, hitting low and hard into the net from the terrific Kemp’s through ball.
A delighted Manning was full of his praise for his side. At full-time, he said: “We got off to a really good start which we put a lot of emphasis on for the boys, so that was great, but what was really pleasing was the fact that we hit back so quickly and responded so well when City equalised.
“It’s something we haven’t done well this season, but that was great to do that today and the boys deserve a lot of credit for it.
“City play their own style and of course, getting the early goal helped us deal with that, and same with the red card, but it’s not easy and they had some experience out their. Their captain, [Eric] Garcia played in the first team in the cup against Leicester, so it was a challenge for us.
“There were some really great individual performances, too. Tunji Akinola cleared one off the line at 2-1, a real game-changing moment, and he got injured and had to come off, but had that gone in, it’s 2-2 at half-time and you’re looking at a different game.
“Moses Makasi, our captain, was great again today too and Pasky [Josh Pask] had a solid game. Jahmal [Hector-Ingram] up top was a real handful, so there were some great performances all over the pitch.
“It was a great performance and away result for us and now we have to take that confidence and mentality into our next game which is a big London derby match against Tottenham.”
Manchester City: Scott, Ogbeta, Garcia, Frimpong, Dionkou, Nmecha, Richards (McDonald 50), Gomes, Bolton, Garre (Doyle 72), Dele-Bashiru
Subs not used: Anderson, Pozo, Braaf
Red cards: Ogbeta 47
West Ham United: Harness, Johnson, Pask, Akinola (Ngakia 39), Alese (Barrett 82), Makasi, Lewis, Powell, Kemp, Diallo, Hector-Ingram (Adarkwa)
Goals: Powell 2 (pen), Kemp 29, 81, Diallo 40, Adarkwa 89