Shots v West Ham United- FA Youth Cup

Tommy Anderson reporting from the EBB Stadium

Aldershot Town Youth VS West Ham Youth Match Report:

Shots: Red Shirt: Blue Shorts, White Socks.

West Ham United: Navy Blue Shirt, Navy Shorts, Grey Socks.

Match Officials:
Referee: Michael Webb
Assistant: Corin Readett
Assistant: Peter Meek

Attendance: 713

Shots Team: Williams, Douglas, Gerrard, Grosvenor, Brice ©, Beckles-Richards, Mcdonald, Webbe, Blair, Cooksley, Halliday
Subs: Howard, Murray, Rudolph, Dickens, Gonzalez

West Ham Team: Baxter, Siafa, Shaw, Marlow, Nasha, Harney, Bywater, Miles, Lee ©, Cullen, Sadlier
Subs: Onariase, Guzman, Mavilla, Makasi, Martins

This could be the first of many big games for the Shots Youth team tonight and what a way to get started against Tony Carr’s talented group of players. The Shots will be looking to cause an FA Youth Cup giant-killing when they host West Ham United at the EBB Stadium tonight. Terry Boyle’s side progressed to the third round tie against the Hammers after impressive away wins in the previous rounds against Didcot Town and Leyton Orient respectively. Elliott Blair was the hero at Brisbane Road last month as his late goal saw the Shots register a 3-2 victory, having twice come from behind to level the scores. West Ham are situated in category 1 of the youth system, and are widely regarded as having one of the best academies in the country after producing players such as Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole in recent years under the guidance of Tony Carr MBE.

The visitors started the game brightly with a slick flowing passing move which saw Captain Elliott Lee run at the Shots' defence before an unleashing a powerful shot on target which was well saved by Luke Williams. West Ham created another chance after eight minutes through Kieran Sadlier as he cut inside past Rob Gerrard and fired his shot inches wide of the left-hand post.

Aldershot’s first real chance of the game came after thirteen minutes and was created by Harry Cooksley who found space in the middle of the park and played a short pass to Reece Beckles-Richards who fired a shot from just outside of the box which was comfortably saved by West Ham goalkeeper Sam Baxter.

The game was starting to liven up a bit and an excellent counterattack from the visitors could have seen West Ham take the lead if Keiran Bywater found Josh Cullen in the box, but instead his cross drifted out of play and kept the scoreline level at 0-0.

West Ham’s defenders were getting a little bit feisty with Frazer Shaw pushing Kofi Halliday to the floor unnecessarily and the resulting free-kick nearly gave the Shots the lead as Harry Cooksley fired a right-footed shot that flew just past the right-hand post leaving the West Ham defender relieved.

The Shots were starting to get a foothold in the game and take control and won successive corners which were cleared by the visitors, but the Shots were definitely showing signs that they were not prepared to let West Ham have their own way and in fact they believed that they could cause an upset that would defy all odds.

But the Shots saw what West Ham are capable of when an efficient counterattack from the visitors saw Luke Williams save superbly from Keiran Sadlier who looked to have scored from an impossible angle until Williams got down low to keep hold of the ball.

Harry Cooksley once again produced a free-kick which was superbly saved by Sam Baxter which looked to be flying in the top right-hand corner just before half-time which would have given the Shots a morale boosting lead going into half-time.

A standing ovation from the appreciative Shots faithful at the half-time whistle who turned out in good numbers this evening showing support for the Shots, who had in truth, have dominated the game in the first half and had really taken the game to the visitors in an attacking flowing first half.

HT: Aldershot Town Youth 0-0 West Ham Youth

The Shots needed to start the second half in the manner that they ended the first half, and they were on the back foot early on as West Ham came out of the blocks very fast and created a chance early on through Josh Cullen as he had his shot blocked by Nick Grosvenor.

GOAL: Aldershot Town Youth 0-1 West Ham Youth (Lee, 47)

Aldershot’s solid backline were finally broken down just two minutes into the second half courtesy of a bit of good fortune as Kieran Sadlier got into the box and scuffed his shot which looked to be going wide until Elliott Lee crept in at the back post unmarked to fire the visitors into the lead.

West Ham’s work-rate was beginning to increase and they were forcing Aldershot back into their own half at every opportunity they could and trying to force errors which they could capatalise on.

The Shots' first significant attack in the second half resulted in a free-kick on the left-hand corner of the penalty box and when Harry Cooksley sent in a delightful ball into the box which found an unmarked Kofi Halliday who could only head wide, decent opportunity for the Shots to level the game.

GOAL: Aldershot Town Youth 0-2 West Ham Youth (Harney, 65)

The visitors punished the Shots for not capatalising on a decent chance to level the match as they began to put more pressure on the game to try and extend their lead and five minutes later an out-swinging corner from substitute Nathan Mavilla was met by Jamie Harney who rose highest and made no mistake in doubling the visitors lead with a bullet header from just six yards out leaving goalkeeper Luke Williams helpless.

The Shots were pressing hard and were desperately trying to find a way back into the match but they were unable to provide that crucial final pass to unlock a solid and organised West Ham defence.

GOAL: Aldershot Town Youth 1-2 West Ham Youth (Brice, 75)

Finally they huffed and they puffed and they blew the West Ham defence down courtesy of an excellent in-swinging corner from Kofi Halliday which met by unmarked Captain Adam Brice who powered his close-range header past the Sam Baxter in the West Ham goal.

The Shots were beginning to find the confidence that they had in the first half and a superb pass from Mitch Mcdonald almost found Kofi Halliday in the clear but Frazier Shaw managed to get back and cut out the pass and clear for the danger.

GOAL: Aldershot Town Youth 1-3 West Ham Youth (Lee, 81)

West Ham produced another superb counter attack and it finally paid off for them as Adam Brice slipped just outside the penalty box leaving Elliott Lee in the clear and he made no mistake in slotting home past Luke Williams and looked to have finally sealed West Ham’s place in the fourth round of the Youth Cup. West Ham were now keeping possession and trying to see out their victory, but had to work hard and stay organised in order to claim the win.

FT: Aldershot Town Youth 1-3 West Ham Youth

A spirited performance from the Shots who pushed West Ham all the way and for large parts of the first half looked like the side who were playing in category 1 of the youth system. They have surprised many in the competition by getting this far, can be proud of their achievement and can now focus on having a positive league campaign.

Speaking after his side’s 1-3 defeat at home to West Ham Youth in the Youth Cup 3rd round Terry Boyle described his side’s defeat as 'harsh'." I thought the game was even-stevens in the first half, and I actually thought for the majority of the half we outplayed West Ham which was a massive boost from our point of view, second half I think it’s fair to say that they had a little bit more quality in the final third and they capatalised on that, but I still think the score-line flatters them. We were chasing the game a little bit at the end but still managed to create plenty of chances but we were just a little bit too short on the day."

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