Pierre Ekwah could not hide his delight at netting a crucial goal in West Ham United U23s’ 3-2 win over Brighton & Hove Albion at London Stadium.
Playing at the home of West Ham United, the development side took a first-half lead against the Seagulls through Ekwah’s superb finish from distance.
Although the away side levelled the game early in the second period, substitutes Thierry Nevers and Kamarai Swyer both found the net in quick succession to give the Hammers a 3-1 advantage before the hour mark.
Another Brighton finish made the final ten minutes nervy, but Mark Robson’s side held on to claim a vital three points.
Ekwah was thrilled to not just feature in such a high profile game at London Stadium, but to also find the net for his side in the match.
“It was amazing,” the midfielder told West Ham TV. “For me, personally, it’s my first time here, so it was wonderful. It’s a great stage and the first team played here on Thursday and showed us what we could do in this game.
“We did it, we’re back on the winning ways. Playing at London Stadium is good for us at U23s level. It’s good for us to have the opportunity to play at London Stadium.
“Brighton were really tough. We knew it was going to be tough because they’ve got great players, quality players. But I think it was good for us to have a tough opponent. It was a good team to play and, of course, we came out on top here.”
Ekwah noted that his finish was a deserved opener for the Irons after a strong start, and the team’s second and third goals came at a crucial point in the match.
“I’m actually buzzing with my goal! I don’t score every time but it’s my third of the season, which is good. I’m just trying to help the team and we had a great start. We ended up with the goal early in the game, which was what we deserved.
“We needed that second goal to help us relax in the game. We wanted to then get another one to be safe, and we did so that was really nice. We never really settled for less. We’re always trying to get more goals.”
Having not won in five league matches prior to Friday, the Frenchman knew that the U23s had to claim victory over Brighton and was delighted to do so in front of supporters in Stratford.
He added: “It was so important to get this win. It was so important for us, for the mentality of the team. We still want to push to win Premier League 2 so we needed to get back to winning ways. Of course, we didn’t want to lose at London Stadium. We’re so glad we won.
“It was great to have fans. We don’t get it too often so it’s always good, and to have it here at London Stadium was even better.”