Finlay Herrick played a crucial role in West Ham United U18s’ 2-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
The young Hammers have moved to within a point of claiming the U18 Premier League South division title after an impressive display at the West Bromwich Albion Training Ground.
Lewis Orford put the Irons ahead from the penalty spot and Favour Fawunmi doubled West Ham’s lead after 16 minutes.
Herrick was then on hand to make superb saves either side of the interval before denying Layton Love from the penalty spot midway through the second half, so the young goalkeeper was delighted with the three points.
“We’re absolutely buzzing,” Herrick told whufc.com. “We only need one point now to win the league so the mood is really positive. We’ve performed really well over the last couple of games, and we’ve picked up some important victories so we’re really happy.
“We started the match really well; Lewis tucked the penalty away and Favour got he the second goal although Ollie Scales and Josh Briggs deserve a lot of credit. Ollie whipped in a brilliant cross and Josh’s header back across goal was fantastic and Favour had a simple tap it.”
The Hammers had to overcome the handicap of being reduced to ten men eleven minutes after the interval when Tyron Akpata was dismissed after a late challenge.
They stood firm to secure an important victory and Herrick was delighted with the team’s mentality in that situation.
“We played with a lot of energy throughout the match and that continued even after the red card. We stuck together as a team and we had to dig deep in the second half but we managed to do that. Matches like today are often the most important wins.
“Red cards always change games and it was no different today. West Brom had a bit more of the ball and had more attacks but we managed to ride it out. The subs came on and helped us a lot so those boys deserve a lot of credit. We won our individual battles and we gave it everything. Everyone played their part and that’s why we won the game.”
The West Ham shot stopper made a number of vital interventions during the match and the 17-year-old was thrilled to play such a key role in securing the Hammers’ sixth clean sheet of the season.
“A clean sheet always feels better when you’ve contributed to it,” Herrick smiled. “As a goalkeeper you can get an occasional assist but we pride ourselves on keeping clean sheets, that’s what we’re in the team to try to do. It’s not just me though, the whole team contributes and the whole team is delighted with a clean sheet, even the strikers!
“I made an important save at the end of the first half an it was all down to the research that we did. The striker was tall and we knew he was good in the air. As soon as the cross went over my head I knew he was going to be there and I just tried to make myself as a big as possible and thankfully it hit my shin.
“I read what the striker was going to do for the penalty. He tried to give me the eyes, he looked at the bottom right corner during his run up and I just dived the opposite way. It was a good moment and I was glad to help the team.”