West Ham Academy boss slams Youth Cup referee

Hammers Academy director Tony Carr claimed West Ham should have had two penalties as they were beaten 1-0 by Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night.

WEST HAM Academy director Tony Carr slammed referee Adam Crysell after he turned down two Hammers penalty appeals during their 1-0 FA Youth Cup defeat by Manchester United.

The Hammers under-18s were launching a storming finish to the game as they looked to come back from Will Keane’s first-half strike for United and deep into injury time they felt they had grabbed their chance.

Impressive substitute Matthias Fanimo stormed down the left and when he squared it back for Robert Hall, his shot seemed to be handled by a Manchester United defender, only for the referee to wave away the protestations.

That, and an earlier decision from the referee infuriated Carr and spoiled what was an excellent second-half fightback by the Hammers.

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“I think we shaded it in terms of territory, possession and chances created in the second half, and I thought we had two penalty claims that looked very legitimate,” said a clearly furious Carr.

“I’ve seen the second one of the replay and it’s blatant. It’s handball, regardless of whether he meant it or not, he has stopped the ball from going into the net with his arm so it is a penalty.

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“Obviously the referee didn’t see it that way, but I think that was a poor decision.”

An earlier penalty appeal for handball was also turned down, while Carr felt that his team should also have had a spot kick for a foul on Hall, who impressed on the right wing during this game.

“I think we had another legitimate claim when Robert Hall got brought down,” said Carr. “He played advantage when Dylan Tombides got scythed down on the edge of the box, Robert picked it up, wiggled his way into the box and was just about to draw his leg back to shoot when he was pulled back.

“That for me is another penalty, but the referee didn’t see that one either.”

West Ham started slowly against a big and powerful United side and Carr felt that his team were slightly overawed by the size of the visitors.

“I think their number seven was the only one under six foot,” said Carr.

“They were a very aggressive, determined team, but fair as well, I have to say, but we found that hard to come to terms with, especially in the first half.”

The winner came on 26th minute after a mistake by goalkeeper Sam Cowler allowed Will Keane to follow up and score.

“I’m disappointed we gifted them the goal, it was a goalkeeping mistake, which was uncharacteristic of Sam because he has been solid for us this season,” said the coach.

“He made a mistake and they have capitalised on it and then basically sat back and said break us down, and their game was counter attack.”

West Ham certainly dominated the second half, so what had Carr told his boys at the break as the team trailed by a goal to nil?

“We just told them that they have to do things a little bit quicker. Push up from the back a little bit more, try and play the game in their half and play a little bit sharper and quicker,” revealed Carr.

“We did that and they were sitting back a little bit more, trying to soak up the pressure to do us on the counter attack, which they did a couple of times which was inevitable.

“But the performance was very good, in the second half especially and I didn’t think there was anything between the teams.”

West Ham miss out on a home tie against Newcastle United or Grimsby Town in round five, but Carr vowed to bounce back again next season.

“They are all a bit down, they are a bit disappointed, but they shouldn’t be,” said Carr. “We deserved something from it and if it wasn’t for the referee we might even have won the game.

“Six or seven of the boys can play next year in this competition, so this season would have been good experience for them, it is a shame we only went two rounds this year.

“We will have to try and win it next year.”

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