West Ham Under 23s v Liverpool Under 23s Match Report
Author: ExWHUEmployee. Published: 20 September 2017 at 10:26am
By Scott Boyle (@scootb1967)
The hosts came into the game off the back of consecutive defeats away to Tottenham and Leicester after a promising start to life in PL2. Liverpool on the other hand came into the game as the only remaining unbeaten team in the league with four wins out of four putting them top of the table.
Less than a minute in and the visitors showed just how much of a threat they are with a neat combination between ex-West Ham schoolboy Ovie Ejaria and Rhian Brewster resulting in a low drive from Ejaria which Nathan Trott in the Hammers goal saves smartly with his legs.
The early part of the game was quick and the intensity led to an open attacking game and within 5 minutes West Ham created their first chance of significance with good work from Dan Kemp down the right, and the wide man was able to pull the ball back to Marcus Browne on the edge of the box but the midfielder blazed his shot high and wide over the Liverpool goal.
Liverpool’s rotational movement was causing all sorts of problems for the West Ham defence and Brewster nearly capitalised on the space available after Cameron Brannagan’s ball split the back four but is shot was well saved by Trott who turned it round the post for a corner. The resulting corner was only half-cleared by West Ham and Harry Wilson; who doesn’t need a second invitation to shot with his left foot, fired into the far corner to put the Reds 1-0 up with 13 minutes on the clock.
West Ham went searching for an equaliser and nearly got it through defender Josh Pask but his header went narrowly wide from Browne’s free kick after Martinez was hauled down just outside the box to the left.
And the young Hammers were made to pay after a terrific pass from Matty Virtue put Wilson in behind the West Ham defence and his side footed volley found the far corner for his second and Liverpool’s second goal of the game.
It looked a long way back for West Ham in truth but a good ball down the left found Jahmal Hector-Ingram and the West Ham drove into the box but was brought down illegally by Liverpool’s Nathaniel Phillips to win West Ham yet another penalty. The Spainard Toni Martinez, fresh from scoring 4 in his last 3 games took the spot kick but a magnificent save from the fully stretched Kamil Grabara in the Liverpool net prevented him from adding to his tally and West Ham never really got going again after that miss.
In fact, it could have been worse for the hosts just before half time had Herbie Kane not flashed his effort over the bar after more good work from the Welshman Wilson; on the left this time, was forced wide by Alex Pike and his cut back to the onrushing Kane went flying over the bar. West Ham fans will be hoping his Tottenham namesake Harry is as wasteful this Saturday!
The first half ended with Liverpool in control and Terry Westley tried to get his side back in the game second half with Grady Diangnana replacing the quiet Martin Samuelson but again it was Liverpool who took charge of the game and just 3 minutes in the second half, Rhian Brewster cut in from the right and let fly with a left footed shot past the near post from 25 yards out.
And five minutes later it was nearly three as Liverpool ramped up the pressure and Harry Wilson again found a gap in the West Ham defence but his effort went wide of the far post via a deflection from fullback Alex Pike.
West Ham did have a half-chance on the hour though when Marcus Browne’s inviting set-piece delivery was sliced out awkwardly by the Liverpool defence but the resulting corner amounted to nothing.
Liverpool brought on Yan Dhanda in the 70th minute, a young man who’s been getting rave reviews and he immediately made an impact when he was first to the ball and headed a powerful effort towards goal but Trott was there again not only to stop the ball but hold it as well despite the power behind it.
West Ham were second best throughout the game in fairness but a rare attack in the 85th minute led by substitute Noha Sylvestre was dragged wide from the Swiss born defensive midfielder when it looked like the better option might have been to slide through the overlapping Dan Kemp.
Four minutes were added on by the officials in two minutes into that, Liverpool were unlucky not to score an excellent goal. Building from the back through the Goalkeeper Grabara, who rolled the ball into the path of Phillips and he clipped a lovely ball into the feet of Harry Wilson and his exquisite first touch opened up space for the Welshman to play the ball through to Dhanda and his shot was destined for the top right had it not been for another excellent stop by the impressive Nathan Trott.
A miserable day for the young Hammers was made even worse after Noha Sylvestre was taken off after the whistle on a stretcher with a cast around his right leg. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as feared.
West Ham: Trott, Pike, Johnson, Makasi, Pask, Akinola, Kemp, Hector-Ingram, Martinez, Browne, Samuelson
Subs: Sylvestre, Diangnana, Scully
Liverpool: Grabara, Whelan, Johnston, Phillips, Masterson, Brannagan, Kane, Virtue, Brewster, Wilson
Subs: Juanma, Dhanda, Adekayne