City Under-18s overcame FA Youth Cup holders West Ham with a thrilling 2-0 win after extra time to advance through to the fifth round.

In what proved a tactical and absorbing encounter, it took 98 minutes for City to break the deadlock.

A foul on Jaden Heskey in the box earned City an extra-time penalty which was dispatched confidently by Jacob Wright to the disappointment of a packed Rush Green which topped off a dream week for our number six after his first team debut last Sunday.

A close-range finish from Justin Oboavwoduo then doubled our advantage and helped secure what was a deserved triumph for Ben Wilkinson‘s side.


Rush Green played host to a clash of two Academy titans; FA Youth Cup holders West Ham and Under-18 Premier League National title champions City.

With Wilkinson’s side looking to make amends for our heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Arsenal last season and the young Irons out to avenge their 2-1 league national final loss, this clash was always going to deliver high quality fare.

So it proved with City starting the first half strong and carving out the best chance to take the lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Clinical link-up play between Heskey, Joel Ndala and Oboavwoduo on the right flank allowed the latter to hit City’s first strike towards goal, but West Ham’s defensive line smothered the shot.

In their first attack of the game, West Ham’s Lewis Orford tested True Grant with a 30-yard strike but the flight of the ball was judged well by the experienced keeper.

The hosts relied heavily on set pieces. An in-swinging corner, which was duplicated in the second half, fell on the goal line and forced Grant to palm the ball away from the goal mouth.

Despite City dominating possession in the remainder of the first half, the best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to the Hammers just before the whistle.

A Jahmai Simpson-Pusey error allowed Elisha Sowunmi to unleash a shot from the edge of the box but the ball floated away from the top corner.

After a chess-like first half where both teams waited for the right moment to strike, City looked to step things up early in the second 45.

A run by Ndala on the left dragged out two West Ham players and in turn left Mukasa unmarked. His shot, however, was rushed and drifted over the bar.  

A sublime solo run by Ollie Scarles at the opposite end a few minutes later allowed him to find space and unleash an powerful shot at City’s goal to remind Wilkinson’s side why West Ham were the current holders.

City’s best chance of the game came our way after Fin Herrick rushed out to clear an attempted through ball but his clearance was poor and fell to Mukasa. An empty goal mouth beckoned but the midfielder’s wide lofted shot didn’t reach the target.

In an almost identical attack to one a few minutes earlier, Oboavwoduo played a low cross from the right into the feet of Heskey once again. Compared to his previous attempt, his shot didn’t have enough power and the effort was caught by Herrick.

City tried to see the game out in 90 minutes. As we entered the final 10, West Ham looked tired and as a result, their line dropped deeper into their own half.

A lobbed ball by Stephen Mfuni to Ndala was perfectly weighted. The winger cut back to his favoured right foot but his strike was well saved by Herrick.

Orford again almost gave West Ham the lead. This time his left-footed attempt rolled just wide of the right post and was met with a loud gasp from the home fans.

Substitute Jerry Umolu unleashed a shot from the left-hand side of the box as the Irons pushed for an added time winner but Grant denied the shot.

Emilio Lawrence flaunted some fancy footwork at the start of extra-time before a driving pass into the box was met by Warhurst.

The striker was unlucky as his first time finish rattled the crossbar and bounced away from goal.

And as West Ham frantically attempted to clear the ball Heskey was brought down inside the box and City were awarded a penalty.

An eery silence fell over Rush Green as Jacob Wright stepped up for the spot kick. The number six dispatched the penalty clinically as he fired home into the bottom left corner.

Then up stepped Oboavwoduo.

After receiving the ball just inside the West Ham box, his thumping strike near the right post was too powerful for Herrick to keep out of the back of the net as the winger doubled City’s advantage and guaranteed our place in the fifth round.


True Grant was in goal with his defensive line made up of Ezra Carrington, Jahmai Simpson-Pusey, skipper Lakyle Samuel and Stephen Mfuni.

In the engine room, Jacob Wright added experience to the holding midfield role with Jaden Heskey and Divine Mukasa deployed either side.

City’s front three saw Matty Warhurst leading the line while Justin Oboavwoduo and Joel Ndala tested the full-backs.

WEST HAM XI: Herrick, Battrum © (Medine 68’), Adiele, Golambeckis, Briggs, Mayers, Scarles, Orford, Ajala (Umolu 84’) Rigge (Jones 91’), Sowunmi (Fawunmi 68’)

UNUSED SUBS: Akpata, Abraham, Oyebade

CITY XI: Grant, Carrington (Okeke 46’), Simpson-Pusey, Samuel ©, Mfuni, Wright (Gray 98’), Oboavwoduo, Heskey, Warhurst (Noble 106’), Mukasa (Lawrence 84’), Ndala

UNUSED SUBS: Wint, Parker, Gray, Alfa-Ruprecht


City advance to the fifth round of the competition and will welcome Reading to the Joie Stadium in the coming weeks.

Keep across and the official app to find out when we return to FA Youth Cup action.


Wilkinson’s youngsters continue their testing start to 2024 with a trip to Carrington for our first derby encounter with Manchester United, this campaign.

Our second Under-18 Premier League fixture of the year sees us take on the league leaders on Saturday 20 January, with kick-off scheduled for 11:00 (UK).

The clash will be available to watch live on CITY+ and will be well worth tuning in to as City look to be the first team this season to take points from United.

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