Carr thinks West Ham boys have potential

The Hammers under-18s cruised through in the FA Youth Cup at a freezing Upton Park on Tuesday and Academy Director Tony Carr believes with a good draw, they are capable of going a long way.

WEST HAM Academy Director Tony Carr believes his team have the potential to make a splash in this season’s FA Youth Cup after they swept aside Aldershot Town in round three on a night more suited to penguins than footballers.

The Hammers grabbed five goals, could have had five more, but also showed that there is plenty of room for improvement as they booked a place in round four.

“I don’t know how far we can go, it depends on who we draw, but I think we have potential,” said Carr after watching his team cruise to a 5-0 victory at Upton Park on Tuesday night.

“We are capable of scoring goals that’s for sure. We’ve beaten Arsenal and Chelsea in recent weeks, so we are confident, but always erring on the side of caution – we don’t want to be over-confident or cocky.”

After a sluggish start, which saw Aldershot play the better football, West Ham slowly began to show their class and after Dylan Tombides had almost set-up Blair Turgott with a cross that just eluded his head, the Hammers grabbed the lead on 22 minutes.

Tombides was fouled 22 yards out and midfielder George Moncur – son of former Hammer John – was there to curl a superb free kick into the top corner.

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It was a class and accuracy from a dead-ball situation that his father rarely showed in his time at Upton Park, and the youngster almost doubled his tally with another rasping shot that keeper Jordan Clements was forced to tip over the bar.

“Obviously playing against Aldershot we had nothing to gain and everything to lose, it was one of those banana skins if you like,” said Carr.

“We overcame that, scored reasonably early with a good goal, and I felt confident after that we would go on to win.”

That received another boost on 34 minutes as West Ham made it 2-0.

Left back Callum Driver had already made a dashing run, only to drag a shot wide, but this time he delivered a low cross which the keeper spilled into the path of Tombides.

The striker’s shot may well have gone over the line, but Shots skipper Doug Bergqvist inadvertently blasted it in off the post as he attempted to clear.

West Ham did show signs of rustiness, but that was not surprising considering the lack of training sessions they have had since the cold weather arrived.

“It has been difficult,” confirmed Carr. “We’ve had over a week now of really bad weather, but fortunately at Chadwell Heath we have got an indoor facility so we can train indoors – though it is not the same.

“We got on the grass at Chadwell Heath on Monday. The groundsman Dougie Robertson and his staff did us proud and gave us a big area to train on, so at least we had one session on grass.

“But I kept saying to the players, if we’ve got training problems, just think about Aldershot, they have the same problems, if not worse.”

As the temperature continued to plummet at the start of the second half, a cold front descended on Aldershot and on Bergqvist as his attempted clearance on 47 minutes, rattled into the shins of Sebastian Lletget and rebounded into the net for 3-0.

The visitors did manage an effort of their own as substitute Mo Davies went through, only to be denied by the legs of keeper Deniz Mehmet, but while Mehmet did make a decent double save before the end, most of the action was taking place in the Aldershot half.

England under-18 international Robert Hall is playing a slightly deeper role for the Academy this season, but he was still effective and in the end, was only denied a goal by the foot of the post.

He certainly impressed Carr: “We have changed to 4-4-2 this year and it is just a matter of accommodating all your players in that system. He plays that position for England, so it is not foreign to him and he was unlucky not to score, because he made a couple of goals and hit the post, the keeper made a save, so he was unlucky.”

He was, but others were more fortunate as West Ham added two more to their tally. The goal of the night came from Aussie Tombides, who turned inside from the left flank before curling a superb shot from the edge of the box into the far corner.

It was a goal that deserved a bigger audience than the sparse crowd that braved Upton Park, but an extended run in the competition, will soon get more fans through the turnstiles.

The fifth and final goal arrived when Hall nipped to the by-line, before cleverly pulling the ball back for substitute Danny Purdy to stroke home.

“I think we could have scored more, yes,” said Carr. “We had a lot of possession and without sounding arrogant, we had too much possession at times and tended to overdo and complicate things.

“If it had been a more cut and thrust game, we could have played a little on the counter attack and maybe we would have been a bit tighter.

“But we’ve won 5-0 in a cup competition, so you can’t complain about that.”

You certainly can’t, but you can complain about the cold.