A ferocious late strike from prolific Spanish striker Antonio Martinez gave Terry Westley’s young Hammers an impressive Premier League Two win over Manchester City yesterday at The Chigwell Construction Stadium.
England Youth International Taylor Richards had given The Citizens an early lead before a magical goal from Nathan Holland levelled things up prior to the break and the aforementioned Martinez effort gave the hosts all three points.
Victory for the Claret & Blue starlets means a two-place climb to third and just four points off leaders Liverpool in the PL2 Division One Table, while City fall a place to seventh with defeat.
From the start in Essex, Terry Westley opted for just two changes from last Sunday’s 0-0 draw away at Chelsea as injured Vashon Neufville and first-teamer Declan Rice departed.
Replacing them was Alex Pike and there was a rare start for U18 star Rosaire Longelo.
Whereas, Simon Davies’ Xl included some of the brightest young talents on show in The PL2 in the form of the likes of England youngster Lucas Nmecha, keeper Arijanet Muric, Rabbi Matondo and England Youth International Taylor Richards.
On a sunny day in Dagenham, it would be the visiting side that had the better of the early play as they created several opportunities, and their patience was finally rewarded on 20 minutes when they seized the advantage.
Nathan Trott, who had been outstanding to deny City in the first part of the entertaining clash, could only push Nmecha’s effort into the path of the advancing Richards, who struck high into the back of the net.
In a game where the two sides shared over 30 attempts, it wouldn’t take long for the young Hammers to square things up.
However, the move started with a superb chance for the visiting team, with Nmecha being slipped through and Trott saving well to deny him, the ricochet then fell to electric winger Nathan Holland.
The former Everton man proceeded to run the length of the Victoria Road pitch to set up an exchange of passes with Montenegrin International Sead Haksabanovic, before firing a low shot into the near corner.
The finish meant that as Referee Alan Young blew his half-time whistle, the scores were somehow level on 1-1.
But, it wasn’t for the want of trying early in the second period for the home side as Muric denied the likes of Holland and Martinez to pull off five early saves in a frantic period.
However, after both sides had continued pounding each other’s goals with a constant bombardment of efforts and a wonderful display of saves from both keepers, a decisive goal finally arrived.
Toni Martinez, being slipped the ball from returning substitute Martin Samuelsen, unleashed a wondrous low effort that gave City’s Swiss keeper almost no chance and sealed a superb home triumph, his ninth of the season.
Westley’s Boys are now unbeaten in their last three PL2 clashes, while that was Simon Davies’ men’s second defeat in their last five encounters.
Next up for the Claret & Blue starlets will be The Checkatrade Trophy trip to The Memorial Stadium, in their final outing before the International Break.
Meanwhile, many young Citizens will be turning out in The UEFA U19 Youth league against Napoli on Tuesday, before returning to PL2 action after the Break.