Mark Robson watches West Ham United U21s v Fulham

Robson: U21s must be ruthless in front of goal

Mark Robson was left bemoaning missed chances by West Ham United U21s as they fell to a 3-1 defeat away to Fulham. 

The 2022/23 Premier League 2 season opener ended in a loss for the development side, with the Cottagers taking a first-half lead through Sylvester Jasper’s close range finish.

Ollie O’Neill added a second with a looping cross that somehow ended up in the Hammers net, but the away side were able to pull a goal back at two down thanks to Mipo Odubeko’s clever finish. 

However, Callum McFarlane found the net with a left-footed strike to inflict the defeat on the Irons.

We need to score those goals and be a bit more ruthless in front of goal. That could be the difference between winning and losing games. 
Mark Robson

“We’re obviously disappointed to not win the game,” Robson told “I thought, in the first half, it was a pretty even game and I was actually quite pleased with the way we were playing. We were mixing it up a little bit and we played when we needed to and tried to go in behind when we could.

“I thought we did okay but we had a couple of chances in the first half that we could have scored. We then had a couple of chances in the second half that we really should have done better with. I’m not sure how we didn’t score more than one. So, in that aspect, it’s very disappointing. We’ve got to take those chances.

“There was one where Regan Clayton did well down the line and it’s a cut-back for Dan Chesters, but it’s got stuck under his feet. We need to score those goals and be a bit more ruthless in front of goal. That could be the difference between winning and losing games. 

“I felt in the last 25 minutes or so we lost our shape a bit because we were trying to chase the game. I’m disappointed with the last 25 minutes of the game and the manner in which we conceded the goal. But the rest of the game, I thought we did okay and played well.”

Dan Chesters in action against Fulham U21s

Robson noted, despite the frustrations at the loss, there were positives to take for the development side, making note of the efforts of the younger players – including Callum Marshall. 

“It’s only one game into the season and we had a couple of young lads on the bench today. Callum came on and he’s been doing very well with Kevin Keen and the U18s, and he stepped up today. His work ethic is fantastic, as it is in all the young lads who have stepped up and trained with us. 

“We’re raising the bar a bit in those terms and that’s what I’m expecting from everybody. We have to earn the right as players to both boss games and also progress. It can be about showing the hard work and that will be the big thing for me throughout the season.

“If the lads do that, then it will be a good season.”