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Narrow defeat for the under-18s

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West Ham beat City under-18s 2-1 in at Platt Lane on Saturday afternoon.

Two well-taken first half goals consigned City u18s to a narrow 2-1 loss just seven days before their opening league fixture away at Chelsea.

It was a young side selected again for the match with a combination of under-15s, 16s and first and second year scholars making up the XI. 

It was an attractive first half of football with both teams intent on keeping the ball on the excellent surface on the front pitch of City’s Platt Lane training ground.

City recovered from the set-back of going one down after 20 minutes by responding almost immediately with a goal from their captain George Swan. Running onto a loose ball in the penalty area, the centre-back made no mistake, firing in off the crossbar for his second goal of pre-season.

It proved to be one of his last actions of the game, as he was withdrawn after 30 minutes to give Sadiq El-Fitouri a run-out.

Jose Angel Pozo was a constant source of menace to the West Ham backline, running in between the lines and demonstrating his tight ball skills, creating opportunities for his strike partner Devante Cole.

City nearly took the lead through the Spaniard after he weaved his way into a shooting position but his drive across the goalkeeper was tipped wide.

However, it was the Blues who went in a half-time at a deficit. This time it was a bending free-kick from 25 yards that was too good for Ian Lawlor in the City goal. The Irish stopper got a hand to the powerful strike but was unable to keep it from nestling into the bottom corner.

Pozo and Cole were withdrawn as two of plenty of changes after the break, with a clutch of under-16s coming into the fray, including Sam Tattum, James Hardy, Brandon Barker Joe Nuttall, Tom Holland and recent England u17 call-up Kean Bryan.

The second 45 didn’t quite live up to the first even though it was still a good game but the only time either keeper was really called into action, it was Lawlor in the City goal who was tested and he did well to turn around a header from a corner.

Barker was City’s most likely provider of an equalising goal. The second half substitute was a powerful presence on the left wing and made his way into dangerous positions on a couple of occasions but the finish was unfortunately missing.

A few skirmishes in the West Ham penalty box in added time failed to produce a chance, so it was West Ham who sealed the win in this, the penultimate pre-season warm-up for Adam Sadler’s team.

They face Colwyn Bay on Wednesday night before meeting Chelsea for their opening league fixture at 11:00 on Saturday morning at the London side's Cobham base.

 

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