Dmitri Halajko: West Ham United U21s unfortunate to lose to Colchester United


West Ham United U21s lead coach Dmitri Halajko thought that his side were unfortunate to lose their Papa John's Trophy Southern Group A fixture against Colchester United on Tuesday evening. 

The young Hammers were beaten 1-0 by the League Two outfit, with Armando Dobra’s seventh minute strike the difference between the two sides at the JobServe Community Stadium. 

“It was a real close game,” Halajko told

“We’ve narrowly just missed out on getting anything today. I thought we had a real good go towards the end, we were pushing and pushing, but didn’t quite have enough to get back into it. 

“We were unfortunate to lose the game – we’ve lost to a bit of a freak goal really, we usually wouldn’t concede from a mistake like that. Overall, I think we were unlucky to get nothing here tonight, but we didn’t quite do enough to win the game. 

“The team managed to get back into the game against Ipswich in our last match in this competition, but this time around we just couldn’t find a way through. It wasn’t for the wont of trying, but we just couldn’t find a way to break them down or make our little openings count today." 

After going a goal down, and struggling to get on the ball in the first half, the east Londoners had good spells in the second 45 minutes, and could have scored on multiple occasions. The U21s lead coach was pleased with that reaction, but frustrated that his side couldn’t find the back of the net. 

“I thought in the second half, we weren’t really troubled by Colchester. Krisztián [Hegyi], our goalkeeper didn’t really have a save to make and I thought we had the majority of the play. 

“The fact that we weren’t able to turn that play into a goal is probably the most disappointing part, but I felt as though we had the slightly better of it in the second half.”

I’d like us to have a little bit more patience on the ball when we’re attacking – and hopefully we take that moving forward

Dmitri Halajko


There was a blow for the Hammers when Ossama Ashley went down injured eight minutes after coming on as a substitute at half-time, and the boss was obviously concerned at the full-time whistle. 

“We haven’t got any early indications yet on the extent of the injury – the physio is having a look over him and hopefully it won’t be too bad. It’s too early to tell at the moment and it is quite sore, so we will have to wait and see. 

“It’s been a really stop-start season for Ossama so far and I feel really sorry for the lad. He’s been unavailable and then picked up an injury, and this was his first run-out for a little while. 

“When he came on, he did brilliantly and really got the team going. It’s tough to get a nasty injury so soon after coming back, but he’s a positive lad and he will do everything he can to come back stronger.”

Despite the defeat, Halajko believes that his players will have learnt a lot over the 90 minutes, and hopes that another match against a vastly experienced side will teach them some vital lessons going forward as they continue with their development. 

“I think we could have been a little bit cleaner on the ball tonight. When you go up against the experienced pros that you come across in this competition, you have to be crisp with your passing, and at times we turned the ball over a little bit cheaply. We need to be quicker with our play to try and open these sorts of teams up. 

“Well organised teams aren’t going to open up for you – we were up against two very experienced centre-backs tonight, and they aren’t going to leave the spaces for you. I’d like us to have a little bit more patience on the ball when we’re attacking – and hopefully we take that moving forward,” he concluded.

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