West Ham Under 23s 0 v Everton Under 23s 0
Author: ExWHUEmployee. Published: 11 August 2017 at 10:36pm
Written by Jack Lebeau @JackLebeau66
West Ham U23 were reduced to 10 men late-on as they were held 0-0 by Everton U23 at Dagenham’s Chigwell Construction Stadium tonight.
Conor Coventry saw red for a double yellow card in the space of 12 minutes; the second being for not moving back far enough from a free-kick. As a referee, I’d be a bit cautious of sending someone off for that especially so late-on and in a youth game, it was a bit harsh and Coventry couldn’t quite believe he had seen red for it, but there was little protests. The referee could have used his common sense a bit more though! Despite this sending off, Coventry had to of been my Man of the Match. His first touch is excellent and he was very impressive in the middle of the park.
That middle of the park was very soaked through, although I’m not sure if this was done purposely or not in order to try and disrupt Everton’s passing style of play. It is a bit of a coincidence given the poor weather this week but then the rest of the pitch was in brilliant condition.
The main talking point that probably attracted some of the 515 fans in attendance through the gates tonight (an impressive feat with the Premier League being back on tonight) has to of been Michail Antonio making his long-awaited return from four months on the side-lines through injury. Within 30 seconds, Antonio had already drifted out wide left, skinned his marker and put in a good cross for Martinez to score. He continued to impress, chasing everything down and making some good runs off the ball. He definitely didn’t look like a player who had been out injured for a third of the year, put it that way. Just looked like he lacked some match fitness and was eventually replaced on the 71st minute after beginning to hang off Martinez for a while leading up to his substitution.
Martinez would probably be my second best player but it’s hard for me to rave about him too much given he did miss a golden opportunity to score right on half-time (narrowly heading wide) and also another one towards the end when he shot just wide of the far post when one-on-one with the keeper. Diangana would be another of my notable mentions as he did well against Everton’s right-back causing him problems all night.
Alese made his debut for us at centre-back tonight alongside Akinola and impressed there. For anyone who isn’t aware of Alese yet, he is the current England U16 captain and is highly rated by the staff at West Ham and indeed, by staff at other clubs too. Before signing professional terms with us this year, both Liverpool and Manchester City tried hard to grab his signature.
Everton’s best chance was when they hit the post within the last 10 minutes or so, and then had a header from a corner brilliantly saved by Nathan Trott. That’s two good performances now from Trott after a couple of expert saves against Billericay from very tight angles and ranges.
Once again, Pike did not impress me though. I thought he was too slow to respond to any situation and wasn’t the best going forward. The defence overall was a bit sloppy given a couple of rash clearances but they got the job done and that’s all that matters. Overall it was a game of two halves realistically; us being better in the first-half and Everton in the second. Nonetheless, a good result for us against the defending champions in our first game in the higher division. Our next game is away to Swindon’s first-team in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night whilst we next play at home (Dagenham’s ground) on Sunday 27th August which is a 1pm kick-off.