West Ham United U19s 3-0 Everton U19s
Premier League Next Generation Cup Third-Place Play-Off, Reliance Corporate Park, Navi Mumbai, India
West Ham United U19s rounded off their participation in the Premier League Next Generation Cup in India with a 3-0 victory over Everton at Reliance Corporate Park.
A second half double from Gideon Kodua either side of a left-footed strike from Ollie Scarles sealed third place in the competition as the Irons prepare to head home from South Asia on a high.
After finishing second in their group, the Irons started strongly in the evening heat in Navi Mumbai, with coach Lauris Coggin’s side looking to make a quick start against fellow Premier League opposition.
Scarles had the first opportunity of the game. Good passing play on the right inside the first three minutes opened up the space for the winger to shoot, but his effort was well blocked.
From then, the Hammers were compact and aggressive, not allowing the Toffees a clear way out as they tried to work the ball forward from goalkeeper Seb Jensen.
A long ball forward from Kaelan Casey found Dan Rigge, who with a first-time touch fed Blaise Uwandji. The forward flashed an effort into the side netting as Coggin’s team continued to dominate in the opening ten minutes.
But Everton gave the Irons a reminder that they were a threat on the counter. After losing possession, the side in pink advanced forward, with Callum Bates forcing Mason Terry into his first save of the evening.
Indeed, the Merseysiders grew into the game, forcing the Hammers back into their own half as they established a spell of possession.
After a spell of soaking up pressure, Coggin’s side were able to drive forward, with Kodua finding Regan Clayton, but the full-backs shot was blocked and went behind.
But Everton threatened yet again, this time after Sean Tarima had gifted possession away on the halfway line. Toffee’s forward Coby Ebere was wasteful with the chance, blazing over from inside the area.
Up the other end, Kodua almost opened the scoring as Coggin’s side scampered forward. After some neat play, the U18s captain saw his effort blocked from close in.
A minute before the break, Casey thought he’d opened the scoring after his bullet header from Rigge’s corner made the bet ripple. Referee Crystal John adjudged the defender to have made a foul in the build up and the goal was chalked off.
In the second half, Casey threatened again from a corner, with Everton forced into last-gasp defending as they cleared the ball off the line.
George Earthy continued to set the pace of the game, and when his shot rebounded to Clayton, most people thought that his left-footed shot was nestling in the bottom corner - but somehow Jensen managed to get down and tip the ball wide of his post.
Roman Dixon caused issues for Scarles and Clayton with a direct run on 50 minutes. The Toffees full-back laid the ball back for Jacob Beaumont-Clark, but his effort was charged down by Casey.
The Irons ultimately made the breakthrough on 61 minutes. A flowing move set substitute Ryan Battrum away on the left, with his cross finding Kodua, who made no mistake from five yards to open the scoring.
More superb play down the left resulted in Coggin’s team grabbing their second only four minutes later. Battrum, Clayton and Scarles all combined, with the latter sneaking a left-footed effort beyond Jensen to double the lead.
The Irons were in the groove. This time on the right, Favour Fawunmi drove inside, bounced a ball with Kodua before forcing Jensen into a good save. From the resulting corner, Scarles delivered a wonderful ball onto the head of Kodua to add a third.
Moments later, Kodua was taken out in the area, and the forward stepped up looking to seal his hat-trick. He struck a powerful penalty but Jensen dived down low to his left and kept it out.
It mattered not though, as the Irons would see the remainder of the game out with ease, subsequently claiming third place in the tournament in their final match in India.
West Ham United U19s: Terry, Tarima (Bates 36), Briggs (Baptiste 68), Casey, Clayton, Akpata (Orford 55), Earthy, Scarles, Uwandji (Fawunmi 36), Kodua, Rigge (Battrum 55).
Goals: Kodua 61, 70, Scarles 65
Booked: Kodua 60
Referee: Crystal John