Under 23s: West Ham United 6-0 Manchester United

  • by Richard Johnson
  • Tuesday, 26th October 2021

Manchester United's Under 23s found themselves on the wrong end of a hammering on Saturday, as West Ham United ran riot in this Premier League 2 clash at Rush Green.

Two goals for Armstrong Okoflex and one each for Thierry Nevers, Sonny Perkins and Jamal Baptiste, plus an own goal from the visitors defence gave the Irons a well deserved six-nil win.

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The visitors were under pressure from the off, as Sonny Perkins and Harrison Ashby combined to bring a save from Vitek in the visitors goal.

From the resulting corner, Longelo and Okoflex neatly played their way through the Red Devils defence and the winger seemed to be through on goal, only for Jurado to haul him down. With all eyes on him, the official pointed to the spot.

Having scored a last minute penalty to beat Tottenham earlier in the week, Okoflex again stepped up to the spot and hammered home a second successive spot kick to give the hosts a very early lead.

Manchester looked to hit back straight away, with the dangerous Elanga darting through the midfield to line up a sight on goal. Jamal Baptiste slid in with a perfectly timed tackle to nick the ball away and clear the danger.

The visitors were struggling to cope with the pace of Alese, Ashby and Chesters, the later linking up well with Sonny Perkins who fed the ball into Okoflex to put the big striker through on goal.

Having done the hard work already, he just mistimed his shot enough for Vitek to rush out and smother the danger.

Manchester United still clearly carried some threat on the counter, the focal point of which was Elanga, who found himself a yard of space and shot, the ball was always climbing and cleared Heygi’s goal by some distance.

Charlie Wellens was next to try his luck, seeing his curling effort whip past Heygi to strike the upright and roll out of play.

A perfectly weighted pass from Chesters found Longelo on the run, the winger clipping in a sweet cross that beat both defence and attack.

The hosts won a corner late in the first half after some excellent work by Okoflex. Ashby curled the ball into space and Baptiste rose highest to head the ball home and make it two nil to the Irons.

Moments later, Hugill missed an open goal when Jurado chipped the ball into the area. With the Hammers defence momentarily caught out, Hugill hit a volley with too much power and the ball sailed high over the bar.

The Hammers' third goal was a strange one, as Potts charged forward to feed Okoflex in space. The big striker hit a low one, which ricocheted off the boot of Jurado and arched towards the goal.

Vitek leapt, got his fingertips to the ball, but was unable to direct it over the post, the 'keeper watching helplessly as the ball bounced and trickled into the open net.

The final action of the half saw Chesters whip in a perfectly placed cross for Perkins to head goalwards, only to be denied by a point blank save from the outrushing Vitek.

Half Time: West Ham United 3-0 Manchester United U23

The second half was a case of Déjà vu for the Red Devils, as with just two minutes gone West Ham had another penalty and once again it was that man Okoflex who was bought down in the area, this time finding himself chopped down by Fernadez.

And the big forward made no mistake from the spot, sending Vitek the wrong way to make it four-nil to the Hammers.

The Red Devils were showing little quality on the ball, but still had moments of promise. Jurado whipped in a first time cross, looking for someone to find some space, but Alese was well placed to clear the danger.

It took until the 62nd minute for Krisztian Hegyi to be called on to make a save, as Hugill rushed through a gap and found himself one on one with the Hammers stopper. Hugill went for power and Hegyi was down quickly to deny the attacker.

The industrious Ekwah won the ball in midfield and fed Chesters, who lifted the ball over the head of his marker and was away. With a clear run in on goal, the young midfielder was unlucky not to score, seeing his shot well saved by Vitek.

And it was Chesters again who moments later charged in on goal, this time being brought down By the lunging Fernandez right on the edge of the visitors penalty area. It was a clear sending off offence and the referee had no hesitation in reaching for the red card.

With eighty minutes gone, Longelo sent in a beautiful pass which split the visitors defence, leaving Perkins to slot home past the demoralised Vitek, to make it five-nil to the Irons.

And eight minutes later Nevers powerful free kick pinballed through the area, taking at least three deflections to nestle firmly in the corner of the net. Six-nil to the Hammers and another well-deserved victory.

The win takes the Hammers up to second place in the league on nineteen points, just one point behind leaders Manchester City with nine games played.

West Ham United: Hegyi, Ashby, Longelo, Ekwah, Baptiste, Alese (c), Chesters, Potts, Perkins, Forson, Okoflex

Subs not used: Kinnear, Greenidge, Rosa, Swyer, Nevers

Manchester United: Vitek, Jurado, Fernandez, Mengi, Hardley, Svidersky, Mather, Wellens, Hugill, Forson, Elanga

Subs not used: Polakowski, Hoogewerf, Norkett

Post Match

Dmitri Halajko: “A couple of the lads were on the bench for the first team in midweek and they came back and played well today as well, so those are the kind of days you want.

"It was a perfect day for all involved – Academy players and staff have done a great job.

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“Going forwards today we were devastating from all areas – not only from all of our front three, but also backed up by our full-backs, who got assists as well. The midfielders were comfortable on the ball and building things for us.

“We looked as if we could score every time we did, and that’s not easy. We made it look easy, but we were playing against a good team and it takes lots of hard work from the players to be able to get to that level. We’re seeing some of the benefits of that hard work.

“That’s how we like to play. We want to be an attacking team – a team that goes forward and plays exciting, attacking football. When it comes off, it’s brilliant to watch and brilliant to be part of.

“The last few weeks we’ve had days like that, where it’s been clicking. We’ve been on a good run, and it’s been an absolute joy.

“I think to have three youth team players on the pitch as well, who didn’t look like youth team players, was another impressive aspect.

“All the individual performances were top-drawer – I couldn’t single any one out – but to have three youth teamers in Sonny, Jamal and Freddie [Potts] play so well, I think that’s another aspect that makes the result even more pleasing today.

“Dan deserves it. He’s been in really good form this year. His work rate is phenomenal and he’s starting to affect each game more and more.

“He’s such a threat at the moment and I wasn’t surprised that the first-team manager put him on, because that shows how well he’s doing.

“He’s going to continue to get better, and I think the others will continue to get better – hopefully there are more debuts and minutes in the first-team picture for them, because I think there’s some real talent in our team who can make that next step.

“Hopefully, that’ll happen for them soon.

Armstrong Okoflex: “It was a good all-round team performance. Straight from the get-go, we were on them, and we just wanted to continue our recent form, which we did.

“I feel like we dominated the game and that’s what we want to try and do: dominate every game. We did that, created lots of chances, were on top of them, pressed well, and the scoreline really shows how the game went.

“When it comes to penalties, I’ll always put my name up there! I’m on penalties usually for the U23s. I won the first one, took it and scored, and my second one, I won again! I was obviously going to take it after scoring the previous one. It was good to get back out there, score goals and help the team win the game.

“That’s a couple of good back-to-back performances and a couple of wins on the bounce, so we’re just excited to take it on to Tuesday’s game against Gillingham.

“It’s my goal! There’s nothing else I can do – I want the goal, I want goals and assists – so that’s my thought on it!

“We have a very talented squad. The players who come off the bench make an impact, and even players who don’t make the squad offer great options.

“I wouldn’t want to be the manager because there are so many in-form players, especially in certain positions!

“We attack really well, whoever we’re playing with, and we’re really enjoying it at the moment. We want to continue that form.

“Everyone’s really proud of Dan [Chesters], especially us as his teammates. He’s been putting in performance after performance. He really deserves that and we’re all happy for him.

“It shows that if you do work hard and play consistently well, you can get a chance, and we’re all just happy for Dan. He deserved it.”

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