Hall sees double as West Ham thump Brighton in Youth Cup
The Hammers Academy team eased into the last 16 of the FA Youth cup in fine style
West Ham United 4 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
Robert Hall scored twice as West Ham’s Academy side eased into the fifth round of the Fa Youth Cup with a convincing victory at Upton Park on Wednesday night.
The Hammers fielded two players in Hall and captain Dan Potts who had played in West Ham’s senior team at Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday and that added experience and class proved too hot for the Seagulls to handle.
In fact, the impressive Hall went close after just two minutes when his 20-yard free kick slipped inches wide with the keeper struggling to get there.
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But on 15 minutes they went one better as they grabbed the opening goal. Hall was fouled just outside the box and young striker Elliot Lee stepped up to lift his free kick over the wall and into the corner.
Matthias Fanimo almost added a second three minutes later when he found space in the box, only to see his shot blocked, while Hall dragged a shot inches wide after good work down the flank by Potts.
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At this stage West Ham were well on top, sparked by their lively forwards and they again went close on 20 minutes when Fanimo squared to Elliot Lee whose shot beat the keeper and the post.
Lee was denied on 26 minutes when a terrible defensive pass by Brighton allowed him a run in on goal. He sprinted into the area, but his shot was well saved by Oliver Wray in the Albion goal.
The closest Brighton came was on 34 minutes. They played the ball around in front of the West Ham penalty area and when it fell for Douglas Tuck, the midfielder shot just past the post with Hammers keeper Jake Larkins struggling to get there.
That was a rare bright moment for the visitors though and on 39 minutes the Hammers increased their lead. Hall cut in from the right and his low shot hit the net, despite Wray getting a hand to it.
Hall almost added a third a couple of minutes later as he forced a fine save from the Brighton keeper, but there seemed no stopping West Ham on this form.
Brighton did start the second half much brighter without being able to test Larkins and as the game went on the Hammers were back in the ascendancy and put the game beyond the Seagulls on 63 minutes.
Potts fine run and combination with Hall ended with him being felled by Glenn Rea and though the penalty decision was slightly harsh, Hall did not worry as he blasted the spot kick in for his second and West Ham’s third.
Brighton earned some consolation on 70 minutes when Chris Cumminng-Bart sent Larkins the wrong way from the penalty spot, but there never looked like a way back for Brighton.
Hall almost completed his hat-trick on 76 minutes when he stole into the box on the right hand side, only to see Wray save his powerful effort with hand and face, while Fanimo also sent a shot flashing across the face of goal as the Hammers looked to emphasise their advantage.
They managed to do just that with 10 minutes left with the best goal of the match. Blair Turgott’s storming run took him past two defenders and when he teed up Fanimo, the winger blasted the ball into the net with the keeper motionless.
It was no more than they deserved as West Ham impressively played out the rest of the game, Elliot Lee even hitting both posts with one shot as they booked their place in the last 16 of a competition they have won three times in the past.
West Ham: Larkins, Young, Potts (Shaw 82), Miles (Hurley 86), K Lee, Chambers, Turgott, Powell, Hall, E Lee, Fanimo (Vose 80).
Unused: Wootton, Sadlier.
Brighton: Wray, MacFarlane, Rea, Vickers, Cooper (Lall 33), Barry, Cumming-Bart, Peake, Goodwin, Tuck, Levy.