West Ham kids unlucky to lose out to Manchester United

The Hammers youngsters bowed out of the FA Youth Cup against Manchester United on Wednesday night.

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round

West Ham United 0 Manchester United 1

WEST HAM’S Academy boys can count themselves a little unloucky that they are not in the hat for the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup after Manchester United’s youngsters sneaked home courtesy of a first-half goal.

The Hammers dominated for vast periods of the second half and certainly carved out some chances, but they were guilty of losing possession too easily before the break and of not finishing with precision in the second.

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The visitors started crisply with Sam Cowler being forced to punch away Paul Pogba’s thumping free kick, but the Hammers hit back almost straight away as Dominic Vose combined with Aussie Dylan Tombides to put in Robert Hall, but the 16-year-old rushed his shot and Sam Johnstone saved comfortably.

Chances continued to be shared as first Larnell Cole volleyed over a cross from the left, before Hall was at the heart of things again, collecting a raking long ball from Sergio Sanchez to cleverly flick it over his marker, but when the ball sat up for the shot, he decided to square it and the chance was gone.

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Manchester United grabbed the lead on 36 minutes. West Ham lost possession in midfield and when Cole’s dipping shot was only parried by Sam Cowler, United striker Will Keane reacted quickest to get to the hanging ball and head it firmly into the net.

George Moncur had scored a superb free kick in the previous round against Aldershot and he went so close again in this tie. Blair Turgott was slightly fortunate to earn a free kick, but Moncur made the most of it, curling his 20-yarder over the wall and forcing a fine save from Johnstone in the United goal.

Academy director Tony Carr must have had a few stern words to say to his players at the break, because they came out in the second half and took control.

The visitors seemed content to sit back, but they almost paid the price as after a period of West Ham pressure, Hall slipped the ball to Tombides who teed up Turgott for a shot that was well held by the keeper.

Carr rang the changes by bringing on England under-17 international Matthias Fanimo and Californian Sebastian Lletget as they pushed for an equaliser.

But they were almost caught out on 67 minutes when a United counterattack saw the ball fall at the feet of Gyliano van Velzen in the box, but the winger wasted a golden chance by blasting wide with just the keeper to beat.

West Ham’s best chance came on 76 minutes. Tombides muscled his way past his marker for once and when he pulled it back into the area, the unmarked Lletget was there, only to overstretch and poke his effort wide.

Three minutes later, the Hammers had a good shout for a penalty when Hall smuggled his way ito the box only to be stopped in his tracks by Tyler Blackett, but the referee waved the appeals away.

Keane almost beat Cowler to the ball to scolre a second, but it was West Ham who were well on top and Hall fed Fanimo who perhaps should have shot first time as his eventual effort was blocked by the defender.

But it was not to be for the battling Hammers as they were left to think about what might have been in injury time when Fanimo stormed past his marker into the box, pulled it back for Hall, whose shot seemed to hit the hand of a defender, only for the referee to once again rule out the spot kick.

West Ham: Cowler, Modelski, Driver, Craig, Sanchez, Wearen, Hall, Moncur, Tombides, Vose (Fanimo 60), Turgott (Lletget 64).

Referee: Adam Crysell.

Attendance: 1,405.

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