Emerging from the bench for the final 25 minutes of the match on Wednesday afternoon, West Ham United U23s attacking midfielder Kamarai Swyer only had one thing on his mind: making an impact.
The young playmaker ultimately proved the difference-maker.
With the Hammers, perhaps unfortunately, 2-1 down in their Premier League Cup clash at home to Exeter City, and after a bright introduction to proceedings, Swyer played a pivotal role in turning fortunes around inside the last five minutes.
Involved in the build-up to many of the Hammers’ strong chances in the closing stages, Swyer first played the ball into the path of Harrison Ashby to cross for teammate Bernardo Rosa's headed equaliser in the 86th minute, before collecting a pass from fellow substitute Divin Mubama, skipping past an Exeter defender and rolling home the winning goal in the 90th minute.
Having lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the opening game of Group F, three vital points were sealed thanks to Swyer’s intervention.
The 18-year-old smiled: “I just wanted to make an impact on the game and try to help the team. Before I came on anyway, the game was going in a good direction for us, so it was just about coming on and making an impact.
“The ball came into Divin and I think he tried to take a touch. I just reacted quicker than the defender and got ahead of him and shot – I think it was a bit of a scuff, but they all count!
“Obviously it’s always good to get the match winner, especially in this kind of game. It was definitely a tough game, but it had a good reward for us in the end.
“I think that’s the kind of performance we expected from Exeter, but when it’s there in your face, it’s definitely hard to deal with. Especially in the first half, the boys found it hard, but we slowly sussed it out and we started to deal with them in the second half.
“We had a disappointment losing the first game, so it was important to get three points.”
The goal was Swyer’s second goal at U23s level, having netted in their previous outing at Rush Green a week-and-a-half ago: a 3-1 win over Everton in Premier League 2.
Swyer added: “I think that’s good as well, because last season I only scored twice for the U18s.
“Now, I’ve already got two this season for the U23s and we’re not even into the New Year yet. That’s good for me.”
Next up for the Hammers is a return to league action when they travel to Lamex Stadium to take on Tottenham Hotspur U23s in Premier League 2 Division 1 on Monday.
Swyer, who will hope to play his part once more, said: “That’s obviously a big one – a derby game – so everyone will be looking forward to that for sure.”