It wasn’t the start to 2019 that Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad were hoping for.
An early penalty, and four more strikes from the Hammers, plus a red card for the Blues saw the year begin with a defeat.
After just a minute of play, West Ham took the lead when Joe Powell was brought down in the box and swiftly stepped up to convert to give the visitors an early advantage.
15 minutes later and Benjamin Garre did enough to equalise when he neatly tapped Tom Dele-Bashiru’s cross into an open goal.
Not content with our leveller, the Hammers swung back and after their initial attempt rebounded off the crossbar, Dan Kemp was ready and waiting and quickly pounced on the ball to fire in from close range – Tom Scott was unable to react.
Taylor Richards was unlucky not to find our next equaliser, as the midfielder missed by a matter of inches after making a lung-bursting run down the right before chipping over the West Ham ‘keeper: Harness.
Disappointed with his earlier attempt, Richards was back in the box a minute later, running at an open goal. West Ham’s Tunji Akinola went with him, and during his effort to clear the danger he collided with the post which saw him stretchered off with injury.
Wanting to reinstate their attacking prowess before the half-time whistle, the Hammers secured another with five minutes to go. This time: a thunderous strike from Amadou Diallo, which looked near impossible to stop.
Returning from the break, City looked hungry to get back in the game, but perhaps a little too much. The hunger ended up presenting itself as a miss-timed tackle from Nathanael Ogbeta and in-turn he saw red after picking up his second yellow of the afternoon.
Down to 10 men and two goals behind, City had a huge task ahead.
It wasn’t to be as – although City continued to fight – Kemp sealed his second and West Ham’s fourth of the afternoon with a looping shot from the edge of the box.
Salt was rubbed into City’s wound just a minute before the full-time whistle was blown. Substitute Sean Adarkwa charged forward and took aim to make it five for the visitors.
It wasn’t theway City wanted to begin the year, but the Blues haven’t got time to dwell as they prepare to head into the third round of the Checkatrade Trophy in just three days time against Rochdale.
How we lined up
Tom Scott took his place in goal, shielded by a back four of Alpha Diounkou, skipper Eric Garcia, Nathanael Ogbeta and Jeremie Frimpong.
Benjamin Garre and Tom Dele-Bashiru flanked Luke Bolton up front.