Talented U15 goalkeeper Serine Sanneh finally made his U18 debut as the Hammers achieved a solid 2-1 win over this season’s surprise package Leicester City this afternoon.
Whilst Leicester’s form may have dipped in the second half of the season, they’ve certainly done well this season – perhaps better than expected, claiming victories over both Tottenham and Arsenal. Regardless it was a great win for the Hammers as they look to regain confidence and turn things around for the remainder of the season.
The aforementioned Sanneh first came to attention after appearing on the U18s bench whilst still an U13 in 2015-16. Numerous callups to the squad have followed since but today marked his debut at U18 level.
Steve Potts and Mark Phillips named a good but fairly youthful team, lining up in a 3-5-2 formation. Mason Barrett was amongst those starting, his second game of the season after returning from injury layoff lasting over a year, and Sanneh’s fellow U15 teammate Amadou Diallo made his second start of the season. Striker Odisseas Spyrides also returned from injury to make the bench.
In contrast to the relatively young West Ham team, Leicester named a total of eight second-year scholars in their starting lineup, with a further three on the bench. Their top three scorers this season – attacking midfielder Conor Tee, striker Tyrese Shade and winger Kairo Edwards-John were partnered in attack by an U15 of their own – winger Terell Pennant, nephew of former Arsenal and Stoke City winger Jermaine.
West Ham took the lead 58 minutes in, with Sean Adarkwa notching his third of the season. Alfie Lewis doubled the lead six minutes later before Edwards-John pulled one back for the visitors five minutes after that. They were unable to find an equaliser and the game ended with the hosts taking the three points, moving off bottom spot in the table.
Unfortunately the U16s lost 3-2, with Veron Parkes and Kai Corbett on the scoresheet for West Ham. Next up for the U18s is a home game against Brighton & Hove Albion on the 17th February.
West Ham United U18s: Serine Sanneh; Ben Wells (c), Joshua Okotcha, Mason Barrett (Kevin Dalipi 73); Reece Hannam, Bernardo Rosa, Alfie Lewis (Keenan Appiah-Forson 73), Louie Watson, Jeremy Ngakia; Amadou Diallo, Sean Adarkwa (Odysseas Spyrides 90+2).
Unused subs – Daniel Jinadu (GK), Harrison Ashby.
Leicester City U18s: Jakub Stolarczyk; Calvin Ughelumba, George Heaven, Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu (Trialist 82), Sim Thandi; Khanya Leshabela (c), Rubyn Gill; Kairo Edwards-John (Alassane Meite 82), Conor Tee, Terell Pennant; Tyrese Shade.
Unused subs – Sammie McLeod, Rhys Davies (GK), Tom Fielding.