Highlights & Reaction: U21s go top of Premier League 2 after Brighton win

Brighton & Hove Albion U21s 1-4 West Ham United U21s
Premier League 2, Elite Football Performance Centre, Friday 15 March 2024, 7pm GMT

West Ham United U21s went top of the Premier League 2 table following a superb 4-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday evening.

Having fallen to a 3-0 defeat by Fulham last week, Steve Potts’ side put in a stellar performance on the south coast to see off Brighton - a side the Hammers also beat 2-1 in a recent Premier League International Cup meeting.

After an even start, Divin Mubama put the young Hammers ahead after 34 minutes as he capped off a neat move down the left.

Regan Clayton did the hard work, reaching the by-line to pull the ball back for England U20 striker to fire past Brighton goalkeeper Steven Hall from close range.

Fresh from making his senior debut just 24 hours earlier, George Earthy then doubled the Irons’ lead shortly into the second half, before Mubama tapped home his second on the goal line after being set up by Clayton to make it 3-0. 


Brighton’s Mark O’Mahony later reduced the deficit for the hosts with a smart finish, though any hopes of an unlikely comeback were diminished when West Ham were awarded a penalty - and defender Noel Atom was sent off - after a reckless challenge on second-half substitute Sean Moore.

Junior Robinson then turned home West Ham’s fourth after Earthy’s penalty was saved by goalkeeper Hall, with Divin Mubama’s stoppage-time red card the final action of the Hammers’ eleventh league win of the season.

West Ham United U21s: Knightbridge, Robinson, Laing (Tarima 27), Casey ©, Luizao, Clayton, Kelly (Battrum 88), Orford, Swyer (Moore 73), Mubama, Earthy
Subs not used: Terry (GK)

Goals: Mubama 2, Earthy, Robinson

Sent-off: Mubama
Booked: Luizao


Potts: Brighton was another good showing from the U21s

Another win for the U21s as a difficult Brighton test was passed for the second time in quick succession.

Having swept past the Seagulls in the Premier League International Cup last month, it was a case of more the same on Friday night, and Potts was delighted by the showing once again against a top opposition.

“It was a very good performance at a place that is a tough win at,” he explained.

“It was a big challenge for the boys, but I thought they were excellent and as the game went on, I was thinking our goalkeeper [Jacob Knightbridge] hasn’t had too many saves to make.


“At the other end, we scored four goals and had chances to add to it too. The defensive side gives the platform, and the attacking side is something that this team always produces, so I’m not surprised when they get goals. 

“Brighton came out really quick and are a good team and are very similar to their first team in terms of finding passes and attacking you quickly.

"We had to weather an early storm and I thought it took the sting out of them. We came out the blocks well in the second half and from then on it was about being professional and seeing it out.”


Two assists for Clayton as wing-back shines on the south coast

The wing-back position is one Regan Clayton is enjoying right now.

The FA Youth Cup winner is enjoying the chance to attack – and showed his quality in the opposition’s half by assisting both of Mubama’s goals.

Regan Clayton takes on Chelsea U21s
Regan Clayton has impressed since returning to the starting XI against Chelsea earlier this year.

“Steve [Potts] asked me and Junior [Robinson] as wing-backs to push really high up the pitch and make forward runs,” he explained, on his role in the Brighton win.

“He wants us to get in behind and create things, so I’m really happy to get two assists as well.

“It’s important to be able to do both sides of the game and I knew they [Brighton] are a good attacking team, so I had to make sure I focused on that first before making the runs forward.

“A lot of these boys were in the U18s last season where we had quite a bit of success, so I think we’ve just brought it over here.

“We’ve had some really good wins this season, while there have also been a few defeats as well, but it’s about staying focused and trying to perform to your best every week.”


Up Next

West Ham United U21s will continue their PL2 campaign at home to Derby County on Friday 5 April.

Kick-off is set for 7pm at Rush Green Stadium.