Dominant West Ham United U18s kickstart Hammers’ perfect weekend


West Ham United U18s 5-0 Aston Villa U18s
U18 Premier League South

West Ham United U18s kickstarted the Club’s excellent weekend of results with an emphatic – and thoroughly impressive – 5-0 win over Aston Villa U18s on Saturday morning.

Two days which saw Dmitri Halajko’s U23s defeat Manchester United U23s 6-0 at Rush Green, and David Moyes’ first-team beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at London Stadium, began with Kevin Keen’s youth team hammering the young Villans at Little Heath Sports Ground.

In the latter case, the U18s were coming off the back of an impressive performance, but a poor final result, in the 3-0 loss to Everton U18s last weekend.

Emboldened by their point to prove, the young Hammers went on the attack straight away in east London, taking the lead after 15 minutes when 16-year-old forward Divin Mubama won the ball back in Villa’s half and began a move which led to the striker tapping home from Gideon Kodua’s low ball into the box.

Five minutes later, their lead was doubled. Archie Woods’ corner reached captain Michael Forbes inside the six-yard box, and the Northern Irish youth international stuck his leg out and diverted the ball past the covering defender on the line for his first goal of the season.

West Ham were in dreamland 16 minutes later when the visitors failed to clear their lines from another set-piece and Woods delivered a teasing cross which rebounded off a defender and rolled into the path of Mubama. 

The forward still had plenty of work to do running away from goal, but spun and shot first-time with a slow – but accurate – finish that found the bottom corner.

And it was four for West Ham just moments later when George Earthy got in on the act, the Hammers’ high press again forcing Villa into a mistake that concluded with Kodua sliding him in down the right channel. Earthy’s slide-rule finish across goal was equally composed, and Keen’s team were four to go the good at the break.

After the interval, further chances came and went for West Ham, who were dominant throughout, but they added just a solitary further goal in the second half when a Trialist – who had only just entered the pitch – brought down a Mubama through-ball, rounded the goalkeeper and a defender on the line and slotted home.

“It was a great result, but more than anything, it was a great performance,” U18s assistant coach Gerard Prenderville told 

“Obviously the last few weeks we’ve worked really hard, created so many chances and had some decent performances, but it just seemed like this week, all of our hard work the boys had put in on the training ground paid off and everyone got it right on the day. 

“It was a great result, but overall, a fantastic performance.

“The main thing for me was the whole team’s performance – from the goalkeeper right through to the centre-forwards, everyone worked really, really hard. You don’t see many clean sheets in U18s football, so the players can especially be pleased to keep their first clean sheet of the season, which is a real plus.

“If we can keep performing the way we’ve been performing, churning out that level every week, then hopefully the results will come.”

Prenderville also reserved words of praise for Mubama, who has scored four goals in five U18s games – and made his U23s debut – since returning from injury last month.

“It’s not only great to have Divin back on the pitch, but also in and around training sessions as well,” Prenderville noted.

“I’ve coached him from a young age and he obviously loves to score goals, but he works really hard on it as well. To get him in and around the box, back firing and fully fit, is a real plus for any side.”

Prenderville also looked forward to next Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City in U18 Premier League South, saying: “The performance mattered more than the result, and we’ll keep working hard on that and stay grounded. 

“All the boys are fully focused and hopefully we’ll go in for another good training week and prepare for Birmingham away. We’re staying fully focused and not getting carried away with the result – it was all about the performance.”

West Ham United: Terry; Robinson, Tarima, Casey, Forbes (c), Clayton, Woods, Earthy, Trialist (Evans 59), Kodua (Trialist 72), Mubama

Goals: Mubama 15, 37, Forbes 21, Earthy 40, Trialist 73

Booked: Earthy, Woods