West Ham United U18s exit Premier League Cup with defeat at Everton
Everton U18s 3-0 West Ham United U18s
U18 Premier League Cup
West Ham United U18s suffered a 3-0 defeat away to Everton U18s on Saturday morning in the U18 Premier League Cup.
With only the top team in each of the seven groups advancing, plus the best of the runners-up, the young Hammers – who lost their first Cup game late on against Arsenal – impressed with their early work at Finch Farm, but fell away to three quickfire goals inside the final quarter of the game.
Despite dominating the majority of the match – and the shot count – on Merseyside, three goals for Everton inside the final 18 minutes condemned Kevin Keen’s U18s to defeat and, as a result, a confirmed group-stage exit.
The team in Claret and Blue started the game brightly and forced Everton goalkeeper Zan-Luk Leban into a handful of strong saves during the opening 60 minutes.
A West Ham trialist, centre-back Kaelan Casey and midfielder George Earthy all came close to opening the scoring on several occasions, only for the Everton ‘stopper to deny them all.
Yet as a draw beckoned, the Hammers were made to rue their spurned opportunities, losing the ball in midfield and seeing Jenson Metcalfe cut in from the left side for Everton and produce an admittedly brilliant finish, rifling the ball into the top corner from outside the box.
Six minutes later, Everton had their second, with West Ham once again losing the ball in the middle of the park, allowing Martin Sherif to race onto a through-pass and finish comfortably past Irons’ keeper Jacob Knightbridge.
The Hammers showed fighting spirit in forcing Leban into another couple of saves late on as they sought a way back into the match, but left Emilio Lawrence in too much space with three minutes remaining, the Everton forward duly making it 3-0 to the young Toffees.
With only a single game left to go in their group against Burnley in November, the young Hammers now cannot qualify for the next round of the competition.
“For 60 minutes, we played as good a football match as we’ve played this season,” assistant coach Mark Phillips reflected. “We were really good, and had several situations where we should’ve gone in front.
“Sadly, the minute they scored, we fell apart. We had over 20 shots, ten on target, whereas Everton had three on target and scored with all of them – but goals are what the game is about, and Everton won the game.
“Credit must go to Archie Woods [in midfield] who played 75 minutes and was by far and away our best player, but we just couldn’t score on the day.
“It’s a learning curve. When you look at our results, it was a huge achievement to beat Chelsea [2-1], but to lose again today shows that we are inconsistent. It’s something that we, as a group, will have to work on.
“To be fair to our lads, however, every time we’ve had a bad result, we’ve trained hard and bounced back well the following week.”
Phillips and Keen will hope the young Hammers will do so again when they host Aston Villa U18s at Little Heath Sports Ground in U18 Premier League South on Saturday 23 October.
West Ham United: Knightbridge, Robinson, Tarima, Casey, Forbes (c), Clayton (Trialist 79), Woods (Evans 73), Earthy, Orford, Trialist (Boothe 64), Mubama
Subs: Terry, Uwandji
Booked: Clayton, Casey