A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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2008-09 F.A. Premier Academy League

Director of Youth Academy : Tony Carr

MANCHESTER UNITED Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

08_08_23 WHU v. Manchester United

Street

Brookes

Fry

N'Gala

Eyjolfsson

Lee

Payne

Kearns (Montano)

Okus (Grasser)

Abdulla

Edgar

Little Heath

0 - 0

23 August 2008

LEEDS UNITED Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Thorp Arch

2 - 2 (Edgar, Payne)

30 August 2008

Stech, O'Neill, Brown, Miller, Fry, Kearns, Lee, Payne, Grasser (Montano), Edgar, Abdulla

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

READING Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

08_09_06 WHU v. Reading U18 08_09_13 WHU v. Aston Villa U18

ASTON VILLA Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Little Heath

1 - 0 (Bajner)

6 September 2008

Street

Harvey

Brown

McNaughton (Montano)

Fry

Lee

Kearns (Grasser)

Payne

Abdulla

Bajner

Edgar

Street

Brookes

Brown

Fry

Eyjolfsson

Lee

Kearns (Barrett)

Payne

Sears

Abdulla (Grasser)

Edgar (Okus)

Little Heath

3 - 0 (Sears 2, Abdulla)

13 September 2008

BIRMINGHAM CITY Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

08_09_20 Birmingham City v. WHU U18

Wast Hills

0 - 2

20 September 2008

Street

Brookes

Brown

McNaughton

Fry

Lee (Bajner)

Kearns (Barrett)

Payne

Abdulla (Grasser)

Edgar

Okus

ARSENAL Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

08_09_27 WHU v. Arsenal U18

Little Heath

1 - 2 (Edgar [pen])

27 September 2008

Street

Brookes (Brown)

Fry

McNaughton

Eyjolfsson

Lee

Kearns

Okus (Grasser)

Abdulla

Bajner

Edgar

PORTSMOUTH Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Wellington Sports Ground

0 - 2

4 October 2008

Street, O'Neill, Brown, N,Gala, Fry, Grasser (Kearns), Barrett (McNaughton), Lee, Abdulla (Montano), Edgar, Bajner

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

CRYSTAL PALACE Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

CHELSEA Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

08_10_11 WHU v. Crystal Palace U18 08_10_18 WHU v. Chelsea U18

SOUTHAMPTON Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

IPSWICH TOWN Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

08_11_01 Southampton v. WHU U18 08_11_08 WHU v. Ipswich Town U18

CHARLTON ATHLETIC Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

FULHAM Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

NOTTINGHAM FOREST : F.A. Youth Cup (Third Round)

08_11_15 Charlton Athletic v. WHU U18 08_11_22 Fulham v. WHU U18 08_12_02 Nottingham Forest v. WHU FATC TS

NORWICH CITY Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

CHELSEA Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

08_12_06 WHU v. Norwich City U18 08_12_12 Chelsea v. WHU U18

SOUTHAMPTON Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

IPSWICH TOWN Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Little Heath

4 - 1 (Montano 2, Kearns, Okus)

17 January 2009

Loveday, Barrett, McNaughton, Fry, Brown, Kearns, Lee (Grasser), Okus, Montano, Edgar (Werndley), Abdulla (Subuola)

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

09_01_24 Ipswich Town v. WHU U18

Playford Road

3 - 0 (Abdulla, Edgar, Lee)

24 January 2009

Loveday

Smith

McNaughton

Fry

Brown

Okus (Subuola)

Kearns (Werndly)

Lee

Abdulla (Grasser)

Edgar

Montano

CHARLTON ATHLETIC Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

NORWICH CITY Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Little Heath

2 - 1 (Edgar, Hall)

31 January 2009

Loveday, Smith, Brown, McNaughton, Fry, Edgar, Lee, Grasser (Okus), Montano, Subuola (Hall), Abdulla

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

ARSENAL Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

09_02_14 Norwich City v. WHU U18

Colney

1 - 1 (Lee)

14 February 2009

Loveday

Barrett

Fry

McNaughton

Sanchez

Kearns

Payne

Lee

Grasser (Okus)

Bajner (Subuola)

Abdulla (Edgar)

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

Little Heath

1 - 3 (Abdulla)

7 March 2009

Loveday, Smith (Craig), Driver, McNaughton, Sanchez, Barrett, Werndly (Moncur), Okus, Abdulla, Subuola, Montano

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

PORTSMOUTH Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

London Colney

0 - 1

21 February 2009

Street, Barrett, McNaughton, Sanchez, Fry (Driver), Kearns, Lee, Payne (Grasser), Edgar, Bajner, Abdulla (Subuola)

CRYSTAL PALACE Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Copers Cope Road

4 - 1 (Bajner 2, Kearns, Lee)

14 March 2009

Loveday, Driver, Fry (Smith), McNaughton, Sanchez, Grasser, Kearns, Lee (Edgar), Bajner (Moncur), Montano, Okus

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

Balint Bajner scored twice as West Ham United eased to an impressive derby victory away to Crystal Palace in Group A of the Premier Academy League on Saturday. The Hungary Under-19 striker struck in between goals from Daniel Kearns and Oliver Lee to seal an impressive all-round team display that delighted Tony Carr. "It was a good performance and we played very well," he said. "We had a young team out again but fully deserved to win. I thought we were in charge for most of the game." The young Hammers took the lead on five minutes when the impressive Daniel Kearns cut inside off the right wing and ended up chipping the Palace goalkeeper with a delightful lobbed effort. The home side equalised on the half-hour although Carr felt his team were hard done-by on a foul that was not given in the build-up to the goal. The 18-year-old Bajner restored the away side's advantage though ten minutes before the interval with a header at the back post after good work by left-back Matthew Fry. Carr's team then took the game out of the Eagles' reach when Bajner pounced on a ball in from the left and shot low into the net. Lee wrapped things up late on after surging from midfield and striking the ball into the corner. Carr was also pleased to see the Under-16s in his squad get more U18 experience, such as 16-year-old centre-back Sergio Sanchez, who has joined the club from Barcelona, full-back Callum Driver and midfielder George Moncur. "It is pleasing to get the schoolboys on the pitch, they are getting great experience. I was also pleased for Balint to get the two goals, he had a good game and was a threat."

A youthful West Ham United Under-18 side went down to a battling 3-1 FA Premier Academy League defeat by Portsmouth at Little Heath. Tony Carr named a lineup containing a host of first-year professionals and schoolboys. Despite their relative inexperience, however, the Hammers took the lead through Abdulla on 16 minutes. The striker completed a sweeping move involving Nick Barrett and Jack Werndly by slotting the ball past Pompey goalkeeper Liam O'Brien. The goal was no more than West Ham deserved for dominating much of the opening half-hour against their older, bigger opponents from the south coast. Christian Montano fired two shots off-target before Portsmouth spurned a fantastic opportunity to level matters on 32 minutes. West Ham United went into the half-time break a goal to the good, but it would not be long after the interval before the visitors were back on level terms. Less than 90 seconds after the restart, to be exact. The equaliser came at the end of a flowing move involving Pompey captain Marlon Pack, left-winger Pablo Navas and Cowan Hall, whose clipped cross was headed in powerfully by the highly-rated Tom Kilbey from close range.  West Ham hit back themselves immediately, but Danny Subuola could only fire a bouncing shot against the outside of the post after latching on to Callum Driver's lofted free-kick. Subuola was made to rue his miss on 54 minutes when Portsmouth took the lead in fortunate circumstances, Navas' cross flying over the head of Loveday before bouncing back off the inside of the far post and into the net via the unlucky goalkeeper. Having gone ahead, Portsmouth took control of proceedings and only the bravery of Loveday and a perfectly-timed challenge from left-back Driver prevented Hall from adding to the visitors' tally. As the young home side tired in the closing stages, Portsmouth added the rubber stamp to their victory when Kilbey nodded in Pack's header with ten minutes remaining.

CARDIFF CITY Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Little Heath

1 - 1 (Okus)

21 March 2009

Loveday, Smith, McNaughton, Sanchez, Driver, Kearns (Edgar), Lee, Grasser (Hall), Okus, Montano, Abdulla (Bajner)

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

Academy director Tony Carr was pleased with his young West Ham United side after they gained a valuable 1-1 FA Premier Academy League draw with Cardiff City at Little Heath. With a number of Under-18 regulars involved in last Tuesday's Barclays Premier Reserve League South fixture with Aston Villa, Carr was again required to call upon a number of Under-16 players in defenders Miles Smith, Callum Driver and Sergio Sanchez as well as England Under-16 striker Robert Hall, who was named among the substitutes. The quartet all performed well as the Hammers took a first half lead through Conor Okus - one of eight Under-18s to appear against Villa at Bishop's Stortford - before a more experienced Cardiff team hit back to equalise after the break. Despite losing their lead, however, Carr was proud of his players. "It was a good point for us. We led through a goal from Conor Okus after 30 minutes and looked in little danger of conceding but, with them being a little bit older and stronger than us, as the game wore on they took control and scored an equaliser. We had three schoolboys in the back-four and another 15-year-old who came on as a substitute in Robert Hall. We were definitely inexperienced compared to Cardiff and taking that into consideration, I was very pleased with the result. "I think the younger players have come in with a bit of a spring in their step and it has been a bit more of a challenge for them.

MILTON KEYNES Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

09_03_28 Milton Keynes Dons v. WHU U18

Wroughton

3 - 0 (Hall 2, Abdulla)

28 March 2009

Street

Smith

Driver (Werndley)

Craig

McNaughton

Sanchez

Montano

Barrett

Abdulla

Hall

Moncur (Subuola)

COVENTRY CITY Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Alan Higgs Centre

1 - 2 (Sanchez)

18 April 2009

Street, Smith, Brown, Lee, McNaughton (Fry), Sanchez, Montano, Barrett, Abdulla, Okus (Hall), Bajner (Edgar)

West Ham United were narrowly beaten when they travelled to Coventry City for an inter-group fixture in the FA Premier Academy League. Tony Carr's side had been in good form and went into the weekend on a three-match unbeaten run, having beaten Crystal Palace 4-1 and MK Dons 3-0 and drawn 1-1 with Cardiff City in recent weeks. However, they were to lose out 2-1 to the Sky Blues at the Alan Higgs Centre in Pinley, with 16-year-old Spanish defender Sergio Sanchez scoring his first goal at Ul 8 level. Sanchez had headed in the openerl midway through the first half but Callum Wilson and Sulliman Lellu, from the penalty spot, scored either side of the interval to give Coventry the win. Adam Street, who had no chance with the spot-kick, was busy in the second half and was grateful to see Coventry hit the bar with one good effort. Robert Hall suffered a facial injury late on but was given the all-clear after a precautionary trip to hospital. Many of Carr's squad formed part of Alex Dyer's reserve team for last week's 4-2 Barclays Premier League South defeat at West Bromwich Albion and will hope to be involved again this Tuesday. The second string take on Portsmouth away for the final fixture of the season. The U18 season concludes with home matches against Bristol City and Fulham before the trip to take on Tottenham Hotspur on 2 May.

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

BRISTOL CITY Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Little Heath

5 - 0 (Montano 2, Edgar, Grasser, Kearns)

25 April 2009

Street, Driver, Brown (Fry), McNaughton, Sanchez, Barrett, Kearns, Grasser, Abdulla (Bajner), Montano, Edgar (Okus)

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

Cristian Montano scored twice to top off a polished performance by the Under-18s in an inter-group FA Academy League encounter on Friday. The Colombian-born attacker opened the scoring before Georg Grasser, the Austrian Under-19 international midfielder, added to the advantage before the interval. The second half was dominated by the home team with Danny Kearns, Montano again and Anthony Edgar all finding the target for the young Hammers. Tony Carr said: "We had a lot of players back because the reserve season has endeded. Some played, some got a half and we were also able to rest the likes of Ollie Lee. It was a resounding win in the end. We could have won by a lot more but it was a resounding win and a lot closer in the first half than it was in the second. "Once we got the third it was a question of how many we were going to score. We had plenty of chances on what was not the easiest of days. It was sunny but very windy. We have got Fulham now on Tuesday and Spurs away on Saturday so we are hoping to keep a winning run until the end of the season."

FULHAM Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Little Heath

2 - 0 (Edgar [pen], Montano)

28 April 2009

Street, Sanchez (Abdulla), Driver, McNaughton (Lampe), Fry, Barrett, Lee, Edgar (Grasser), Okus, Bajner, Montano

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

West Ham United completed their complement of FA Premier Academy League Group A home fixtures with a 2-0 win over Fulham at Little Heath. A first-half penalty from Anthony Edgar and a header after the interval from Cristian Montano were enough to see Tony Carr's side beat their west London rivals on a cold and blustery Tuesday afternoon. The Hammers were the better side for the vast majority of the game and could have won by a wider margin had it not been for Fulham goalkeeper Wesley Foderingham. West Ham held the upper hand for much of the opening half against a Fulham side managed by former Cottagers midfielder Gary Brazil, but could easily have fallen behind on two occasions before Edgar's opener. First, on eleven minutes, right-back Karim Laribi cut inside Conor Okus before playing a one-two with Danny Hoesen and finding himself completely unmarked 12 yards from goal, only to stab his shot well over the crossbar. Eight minutes later, Hoesen ghosted past Matt Fry and Callum McNaughton, only to launch his shot well over the target when it appeared easier to score.  West Ham took the upper hand and should have taken the lead on 37 minutes. Fry challenged Foderingham for a lofted Callum Driver free-kick, but when the loose ball dropped to the Hammers captain six yards from goal, his left-foot shot from six yards cannoned back off the underside of the crossbar rather than nestling into the completely unguarded net. Thankfully for Fry, he only had two minutes to worry about his miss as Edgar confidently stroked West Ham ahead from the penalty spot. The lively midfielder had earned the spot-kick himself, being felled by a clumsy Sulaiman Bangura challenge after racing on to Driver's pass. From a 63rd-minute corner, taken by Oliver Lee, Montano nodded in at the far post after Lampe had headed the ball back across the face of goal.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR Under-18 : F.A. Premier Academy League

Spurs Lodge

1 - 4 (Abdulla)

2 May 2009

Street, Brown, Kearns, McNaughton (Lampe), Fry, Barrett, Lee, Grasser, Montano, Bajner (Abdulla), Edgar (Okus)

NO PROGRAMME ISSUED

West Ham United Under-18s ended their FA Premier Academy League season with a 4-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur. The first half ended goalless, only for Group B leaders Spurs to score four second half goals against the Hammers, who now look destined to finish either fourth or fifth in Group A. Ahmed Abdulla netted a consolation for the visitors, but Tottenham eased to victory at Spurs Lodge in Chigwell. Tony Carr's team completed their 28-match league campaign with ten wins, eight draws and ten defeats. West Ham's best results of the season came in the shape of a 6-1 win at Southampton in November, a 4-1 victory at Crystal Palace and a 5-0 thrashing of Bristol City at Little Heath on 24 April. The free-scoring Hammers notched 51 goals in 28 league games, conceding just 38. Tottenham's victory keeps them top of Group B with two matches left to play.

Street

Miller

Brown

McNaughton

Fry

Edgar

Lee

Okus

Kearns

Bajner

Abdulla (Montano)

Little Heath

0 - 0

11 October 2008

Little Heath

2 - 4 (Abdulla, Hall)

18 October 2008

Street

Miller

Brown

McNaughton

Fry

Kearns (Hall)

Mantano (Barrett)

Lee

Grasser (Okus)

Edgar

Abdulla

Staplewood

6 - 1 (Bajner 3, Edgar, Kearns, Lee)

1st November 2008

Street

Spence

Fry (Brown)

Eyjolfsson (Brooks)

McNaughton

Edgar

Abdulla (Okus)

Lee

Bajner

Grasser

Kearns

Little Heath

2 - 1 (Bajner, Edgar)

8 November 2008

Loveday

Brookes

Brown

McNaughton (Modelski)

Fry

Okus (Hall)

Kearns

Lee

Bajner

Edgar

Grasser (Abdulla)

Sparrows Lane

1 - 2 ([og])

15 October 2008

Street

Brookes

Brown

McNaughton (Modelski)

Fry

Kearns

Edgar

Lee

Abdulla

Hall

Montano (Bajner)

Motspur Park

2 - 0 (Bajner, Edgar)

22 November 2008

Street

Modelski

Brown

Brookes

Fry

Okus

Edgar

Lee

Abdulla (Hall)

Bajner

Montano (Grasser)

City Ground

1 - 3 (Abdulla)

2 December 2008

Street

Modelski

Brown

Brookes (McNaughton)

Fry

Kearns (Abdulla)

Okus (Grasser)

Lee

Montano

Edgar

Bajner

Little Heath

1 - 1 (Abdulla)

6 December 2008

Stech

Modelski

Brown (Barrett)

McNaughton

Fry

Lee

Kearns

Grasser (Okus)

Abdulla

Werndly (Montano)

Edgar

Cobham Training Ground

2 - 2 (Kearns 2, [1 pen])

12 December 2008

Street

Modelski

Brown

McNaughton

Fry

Barrett (Okus)

Kearns

Lee

Bajner (Montano)

Abdulla

Fry (Subuola)

Tony Carr was more than content with his Academy boys after they secured a goalless draw in their opening game of the FA Premier Academy League season. The young Hammers put in a solid performance in an end-to-end game which could have gone either way. Carr said: "It was a good solid start. We are really pleased. Maybe on reflection we might have won it, but I think they might think the same. For a 0-0 draw, it was a very entertaining game. "It was important to get a clean sheet," he added. "It keeps you in the game all the time. Manchester United had their moments obviously as you would expect, but I thought we defended very well and worked very hard. "It was very, very hot and we just about edged it. Maybe it would not have been an injustice if we had won," he concluded.

Tony Carr's young side were frustrated by a late equaliser on Saturday morning after goals from Josh Payne and Anthony Edgar had looked like securing the first victory of the new season. The youngsters turned in a solid display with captain Payne equalising from the edge of the area midway through the first half before a splendid strike from Edgar put the visitors in front just before half-time. It looked like the team would take all three points back with them to London until an 85th-minute deflected shot looped up over Marek Stech, giving him no chance to save.

Balint Bajner made a dream start to his West Ham United career with a goal inside five minutes on his debut but it was not enough to give his new club victory. The Hungarian youth international striker's early goal completed a memorable week that began with him signing for the club on deadline day from Romanian outfit Liberty Oradea. The towering 17-year-old, who played for his country in this summer's European Under-19 Championship, popped up with just five minutes gone to convert after captain Josh Payne had played the ball across goal. At a windswept Little Heath, the home side had plenty of chances to extend their lead. Two of the best chances fell to Danny Kearns and Anthony Edgar, only to be denied by the goalkeeper after a great shot and a one-on-one chance respectively. However, it did seem Bajner's effort would be enough. The game turned though after second-half substitute Christian Montano was sent off just after coming on. The referee produced the red card after a coming together with a Reading player while defending a free-kick and it left Tony Carr's side down to ten men for the final 20 minutes. The visitors soon made the extra man count when they scrambled in an equaliser after a lofted free-kick caused confusion in the home defence. After that it was about hanging on to the point and the third straight draw of the new 2008/09

Tony Carr was more than happy with a tremendous team display as his Under-18s saw off a strong Aston Villa side with a home win at Little Heath.

The visitors arrived with the reputation of being one of the best Academy sides in the country but were beaten by two goals from Freddie Sears and another strike by Ahmed Abdulla. Sears poked in the first midway through the first half before showing good composure to add his second just before the interval. Abdulla's first of the season was a header as the game moved into the closing stages.

It was the first victory of the season but, after three previous draws, Carr's side are still unbeaten. The delighted Academy director said: "It was our best performance so far this season and Villa's first defeat. It was a very good result for us."

Tony Carr's side suffered their first defeat of the season as they lost out to Birmingham City. In a hard-fought encounter, the visitors conceded a goal in each half with both coming after free-kicks were played into the box and not cleared. Substitute Balint Bajner made an instant impression and was unlucky to see an effort hit the woodwork which would have levelled matters. Birmingham took the lead on 20 minutes when a deep free-kick into the visitors' area saw goalkeeper Adam Street fail to collect. The home side were on to capitalise and opened the scoring with a simple tap-in. Chances were at a premium after that until Bajner, who had been away on international duty until late in the week, entered as a half-time replacement. The Hungarian Under-19 international took just ten minutes to fire in on goal. His effort smashed against the post though and away to safety just when it seemed United would be back in the contest. Birmingham defended their lead after that and took the game out of reach with ten minutes to play when another set-piece was not cleared and the unlucky Street was beaten by a header.

Tony Carr's side were unlucky losers as Arsenal fought back from a half-time deficit to take the honours. Oliver Lee had earned his side a penalty just before half-time, which Anthony Edgar duly converted. Conor Okus and Balint Bajner then had good chances to extend the lead before the break but were to be denied. The hosts were to pay for their profligacy as Arsenal scored two second-half goals to take all three points. The morning had begun with a misty start at Little Heath but as West Ham United got into their stride, so the early fog disappeared to make way for glorious sunshine. The home side were in lively form, despite the absence of regulars like captain Josh Payne, on loan at Cheltenham Town, and the suspended Christian Montano. Bajner was back in the starting lineup - a towering presence with Ahmed Abdulla and Edgar in support. Both teams had their moments but it looked like it would be honours at half-time before Lee found space in the penalty area. As he set himself to shoot for goal, a visiting defender tugged back his shirt and the referee had no choice but to blow for a penalty. Edgar stepped up to score his second goal of the season. Okus and Bajner then had their opportunities but the visitors managed to resist the United attacks before the interval. As was to be expected, Arsenal raised their game in the second half. They finally ensured parity on the hour with a headed goal from a corner that was not cleared. Ten minutes later, they made the most of an injury to Tony Brookes at right-back. The Gunners surged down that flank before crossing in for the winning goal.

The hosts took the lead in the 65th minute through penalty after Matty Fry was adjudged to have felled Tom Kilbey in the area. United thought they had equalised a short while later but Balint Bajner's strike was ruled out for offside. Portsmouth put the game out of reach with a second five minutes from time. Despite the loss, Carr was pleased with his side's efforts, particularly in the opening 45 minutes. He said: "We played very well in the first half, and arguably could have been 2-0 up at half-time. There was a great chance from Balint Bajner who saw his close-range effort saved by the goalkeeper and Ahmed Abdulla again, from quite close range, lofted the ball over the bar when if he had hit the target he would have scored. Several of Carr's original Under-18 squad have made the step up to the senior level this season. The likes of Freddie Sears, Junior Stanislas, Jordan Spence and Marek Stech have progressed to be in and around the first-team but the academy director is still more than happy with the players he has at his disposal. He believed some small changes would make a big difference. "It is nothing to do with fitness just things like people having an extra touch on the ball, when all it needs is one or two touches, not three.

Tony Carr was happy to see his youthful side stop a run of three successive defeats with a goalless draw against Crystal Palace. The academy director was particularly pleased with how the Hammers coped with set-pieces against a physical Eagles team and also showed good fitness, despite several having been involved with the reserves in midweek. The lively Oliver Lee had the best of the home side's moments at Little Heath, spurning a good opportunity when a goal seemed certain. Among the unused substitutes was schoolboy forward Daniel Subuola and Austrian midfielder Georg Grasser, who had a good 70 minutes in the reserves 4-1 defeat at Fulham. Carr said: "It wa a much-improved performance. We still need to be a little bit more clinical in front of goal. I thought we did enough in the second half to have won the game but what was pleasing was our all-round team performance and that we obviously kept a clean sheet. "That was a plus and it was one step forward. We had to play players that had played in the reserves during the week. Considering all of that I thought it was a good result for us. I am disappointed we didn't win but it was a very good performance."

The home team started and finished the scoring but in between Chelsea dominated and were full value for their victory. Despite the scoreline, academy director Tony Carr was pleased with the way his team regrouped after the interval, having gone in at half-time 3-1 down. Indeed, had his team taken one of a succession of good chances late in the contest they could have gone on to earn something from the game. Abdulla capitalised on a poor clearance to open the scoring from 25 yards on six minutes. However, within five minutes, Chelsea had equalised after a mis-placed pass by Georg Grasser was intercepted and Frank Nouble was able to score. The visitors then took the lead on 20 minutes when Adam Street came to clear a long ball forward but was beaten to it by the alert Fabio Borini. It was three just after the half-hour mark through Jacob Mellis. Anthony Edgar could have pulled a goal back soon after but was denied by the woodwork. Despite regrouping well in the second half, Chelsea moved further ahead through Callum McNaughton's own goal but United were able to get a second consolation. In the 68th minute, half-time replacement Conor Okus surged forward allowing fellow substitute Hall - who made his England Under-16 bow last month - to mark his first game at this level with a fine goal.

Balint Bajner enjoyed a stunning return to club duties with a hat-trick having also scored a treble on international duty with Hungary. The young striker, a summer recruit, had helped his country to qualify for the Elite round of the European Under-19 Championship at the end of last month, including a 16-minute treble in a 6-0 defeat of San Marino. He underlined his good form with a brilliant treble away to Southampton Under-18s -although the lively Northern Irish youth international Daniel Kearns was also deserving of the spotlight after a superb attacking display. Tony Carr's team had been looking to bounce back after a home defeat by Chelsea last time but faced tough opposition in Southampton. Kearns opened the scoring with a strong run and deft finish over the keeper on the quarter-hour mark before Bajner doubled the advantage 20 minutes later after turning his marker and shooting low into the corner. The Saints pulled one back ten minutes after half-time, a goal which gave no indication of the scoring spree to come as Bajner completed his hat-trick either side of an Ollie Lee long-ranger and Anthony Edgar wrapped things up with another drive from distance.

The Under-18s started off brightly against Ipswich Town at Little Heath as Anthony Edgar put them ahead after five minutes with a goal from the edge of the box following a well-worked move. The home side were dominant, but Ipswich found their way back in and equalised from the spot, when a late defensive clearance forced goalkeeper Peter Loveday to come out from his goal and, in the wet conditions, clash with an Ipswich forward. Another goal for the away side came along shortly afterwards. Carr sent on England Under-15 striker Robert Hall, who made an immediate impact by helping to set up his side's second of the day. He jinked and dribbled his way into the box, cutting the ball back for Balint Bajner to head home. At 3-2, West Ham United were playing with more urgency, but it would be Ipswich who were to score again, breaking away from their hosts' pressure to score following a free-kick which was deflected in off Bajner for an own goal. After the game, Carr said: "We were all very disappointed, especially as we had done so well the week before, with the 6-1 win over Southampton. We thought that would be our springboard, but it wasn;t to be and so we look to do better away at Charlton.

Tony Carr's youngsters went down to a narrow defeat at Charlton Athletic, registering through an own goal. The visitors found themselves 1-0 down after 26 minutes when the hosts' Tamer Tuna struck home from 12-yards. Two minutes later, Charlton extended their lead as Ben Godfrey nabbed his side's second of the day. It was a more resilient West Ham United that took to the field in the second half and continuing pressure saw the scoreline close, as they forced Charlton back and an own goal by Callum Christie saw them get on the scoresheet. Although it was not enough to see the youngsters bring anything away from the match, Carr was pleased at the better performance after the break. He said: "We played very poorly in the first half but performed very well in the second, unfortunately it was just not enough to claw the two goals back." It was the second straight defeat for the Under-18s after the 4-2 loss at home to Ipswich Town the previous weekend and they will hope to bounce back away to Fulham on Saturday.

Anthony Edgar and Balint Bajner struck second-half goals to give Tony Carr's team a deserved derby victory in west London. After two defeats in a row, the Under-18s returned to winning ways after Edgar struck early in the second half and Bajner converted a late goal on the counterattack. It was just reward for a polished performance that also saw a first start for Polish right-back Filip Modelski and another late run-out for England Under-16 forward Robert Hall. Modelski is still only an Under-16 player at the club but already an established youth international with his country. In September, he helped Poland qualify for next spring's Elite round for the 2009 European U17 Championship. He played in the first two qualifiers that sealed Polish progress before sitting out the academic third. Modelski, like the versatile young Austrian Georg Crasser and Hungarian forward Bajner, is fitting in well at Chadwell Heath. After a first half at Motspur Park that saw both teams have their moments without ever really threatening, the deadlock was finally broken after the interval when Edgar collected a cross from the left-hand side. He showed good footwork to create an opening before firing low through a crowd of players into the corner of the net. The second came via a quickfire breakaway. The Hammers were defending a corner when Jordan Brown set Edgar away down the right-hand side. The goalscorer turned provider by picking out the on-rushing Bajner with a low cross and the in-form Hungary Under-19 striker slid in to score.

West Ham United will have to wait at least another year to lift their fourth FA Youth Cup after going down to a 3-1 third round defeat at Nottingham Forest. Two goals from striker Tim Hopkinson and a long-range special from Kieron Freeman were enough to send the FA Premier Academy League Group D side through on a freezing night at the City Ground. Left-back Freeman, 16, opened the scoring with an opportunist 30-yard strike on 20 minutes, lashing home the bouncing ball after the visitors had only half-cleared George Thomson's left-wing corner. 18-year-old Hopkinson doubled the hosts' advantage 10 minutes after the break, stooping to nod past Adam Street via the inside of the post. Substitute Ahmed Abdulla did pull a goal back for the Hammers on 77 minutes with a neat lob, only for Hopkinson to make the tie safe for Forest just two minutes later. Defeat was harsh on Tony Carr's youngsters, who had dominated the early stages but failed to turn their possession and threat into an all-important opening goal. The Hammers forced no fewer than six corners in the opening 15 minutes, but the closest they came to breaking the deadlock was when Christian Montano's snap-shot deflected off Max Wright and kissed the top of the crossbar on its way over.

Ahmed Abdulla's second goal in a week ensured Tony Carr's men earned a creditable draw against Norwich City at Little Heath. Abdulla struck with a well-taken goal early in the first half, flicking in from Daniel Kearns' inswinging corner. The visitors had already taken the lead in similar circumstances, scoring with a headed goal from a corner kick. Carr had begun without Tony Brookes and Balint Bajner, with both picking up knocks in Tuesday's disappointing early exit from the FA Youth Cup after a 3-1 loss at Nottingham Forest, when Abdulla scored the consolation.

As was the case at the City Ground, Oliver Lee, along with defender Matty Fry, was among the brightest performers in the Hammers' ranks - the midfielder rattling the crossbar in the second half in a lively display. Abdulla and Christian Montano also had good chances to get what would have been a precious victory in a game that also saw Jordan Brown needing to be replaced at half-time.

Plus points included a first start for Under-16 prospect Jack Werndly in place of the absent Bajner while Marek Stech dropped back into the U18 set-up with both Adam

Street and Peter Loveday unwell. Stech had been troubled by a slight groin problem of late but has trained fully in recent weeks and was a reliable performer between the posts as ever.

West Ham United twice came from behind to secure a well deserved point but will have left west London knowing they could have had all three. The Hammers enjoyed the better of an entertaining first half as several excellent moves created resulted in good chances but somehow, via a combination of good fortune and the woodwork, the scores remained level going into the break. Chelsea were better in the second period and took the lead just after the hour mark. The visitors continued to press and got themselves back into the game when Daniel Kearns equalised with six minutes to go only for Chelsea to take the lead again immediately. United hit back again though as Kearns claimed his second from the penalty spot with just three minutes remaining.

Bajner was paired with Ahmed Abdulla up front, the pair demonstrated their growing understanding as early as the fifth minute when Abdulla set up the Hungarian youth international, but his shot with the outside of the boot flashed wide. Matthew Fry then became the first player to strike the frame of the Chelsea goal. A free-kick from just inside the Chelsea half fell to Bajner and his square pass was perfectly weighted for the centre half, who took one touch before driving the ball across the goalkeeper only to see it come back off the inside of the post. Street had barely touched the ball for the first 25 minutes but showed he was still switched on when he saved smartly from Frank Nouble, who was clean through on goal.

Tony Carr was delighted to see his Under-18 side begin 2009 in style by beating Southampton 4-1 at Little Heath, but believes there is still more to come from the team in coming weeks. The West Ham United academy director watched on as goals from Christian Montano and Daniel Kearns sent the home side in 2-1 up at half-time. A further strike from Montano and one from Conor Okus set the Hammers on the way to a comfortable win. Carr was delighted with how his side responded after four weeks without a game. He said: "It's a great way to start the New Year. We were eagerly awaiting a game as the friendly game we had on last week was cancelled because of the frost. It was important to hit the ground running which we have done and I'm pleased." After the successful start, the thoughts of some of the youngsters will now turn to Tuesday's reserve team fixture against Fulham, although their involvement may depend on Gianfranco Zola's plans for next weekend's FA Cup fourth round tie against Hartlepool United.

"Looking ahead to the reserve game on Tuesday, it depends on how many senior players the manager wants. That will filter down to us so if it is the same team that they had last week then there won't be that many young ones featuring but if he holds one or two back for the cup game that will open the door for one or two of the younger ones."

Tony Carr's Under-18s coasted to a 3-0 win at Ipswich Town despite playing the majority of the second half with ten men. United started well are were unlucky not to be ahead within a minute as Danny Kearns' free-kick hit the inside of the post and bounced out. They were not to be denied for long, though, as 19 minutes later Ollie Lee gave them the lead when he drilled home an Anthony Edgar cut-back from 12 yards. The lead was doubled when a good move involving Kearns, Lee and Ahmed Abdulla set Anthony Edgar through with just the goalkeeper to beat and he prodded the ball into the back of the net. It was not to be all plain sailing for United, though, as they had Christian Montano sent off for a strong tackle ten minutes into the second half. This presented them with a different kind of challenge and it was one that they rose to admirably, putting their bodies in the way of everything Ipswich threw at them. After soaking up the pressure for most of the second half, Carr's side made sure of the win with a superb third with ten minutes remaining. Jordan Brown picked up the ball on the left and crossed for Abdulla and the striker finished with a spectacular overhead kick.

A goal at either end of the 90 minutes was enough to see West Ham United's Under-18 side continue their perfect start to 2009 with a 2-1 victory over Charlton Athletic. Tony Carr's team won their third consecutive FA Premier Academy League game in difficult, blustery conditions at Little Heath. The Hammers opened the scoring after just two minutes through Anthony Edgar. The Addicks, who had won the reverse fixture by the same scoreline in November, came back strongly and equalised on the half-hour mark, only for England Under-16 international striker Robert Hall to nick the three points with an opportunist strike with only three minutes remaining. Afterwards, Carr was delighted with his team's commitment and also the performances of a number of Under-16 squad members - namely strikers Subuola and Hall and fullback Miles Smith - called upon due to injuries to Balint Bajner, Filip Modelski and Tony Brookes. "It wasn't the best of games, I must admit. The wind played a massive factor and it did spoil the quality of the game to be honest. We scored very early from a Daniel Subuola cross and Anthony Edgar controlled and hit the ball low, right-footed into the goal. That was_one-nil, a really good start after two minutes. "We were bright for about ten or 15 minutes after that but Charlton had the better of the remainder of the half and equalised on about 30 minutes and made it one-one. In the second half the wind was at our backs and we really pressed them. They had the odd counterattack but it wasn't the best of games. "It looked as if it was going to peter into a draw. Their goalkeeper made two outstanding saves - one from Conor Okus and one from Miles Smith - that on a better day would surely have been goals. Christian Montano then put through-ball to Robert Hall, who had come on as sub, and the goalkeeper looked favourite to get it. He did get it at first but then, as he dived to the ground, he somehow let it out of his grasp and Robert swivelled on it and curled it into the net from an acute angle. We just nicked it in the 88th minute.

West Ham United's Under-18s made it six Barclays Premier Academy League matches without defeat against Norwich City at Colney. The Canaries took the lead against the run of play with just five minutes remaining, only for Oliver Lee to salvage a point for the Hammers with a neat 88th-minute finish. Academy director Tony Carr was disappointed that his players had not secured the victory that their performance had deserved, but happy to see his team extend their long unbeaten run. "I felt we were the better team throughout the 90 minutes but obviously we didn't convert that superiority into goals and it almost rebounded on us when they scored in the 85th-minute. "We missed good chances either because we delayed a pass or delayed a shot or made bad errors of judgement in vital positions and in the end it cost us. It's certainly a game we will look back on and think we should have won. "We were either passing when we should have been shooting or vice-versa and also missed a couple of good opportunities - one where they cleared it off the line and another when their goalkeeper made a fantastic save.  

Tony Carr's Academy side went down by the narrowest of margins away to league leaders Arsenal.The Gunners just edged the London derby to move eight points clear at the top of Group A of the FA Premier Academy League standings. The only goal of the game came courtesy of home captain Jay Emmanuel-Thomas just before the interval at London Colney and there was to be no way back for Carr's young charges. The loss brought to an end a six-game unbeaten run dating back to 6 December. Daniel Kearns and Balint Bajner had the best of the visitors' chances in the second half but Arsenal were always too strong. There were some real positives for Carr though, not least 16-year-old central defender Sergio Sanchez who has recently joined the club from Barcelona and he impressed alongside Callum McNaughton. Josh Payne also got a pre-planned 45 minutes to maintain his sharpness. Several of the Hammers side could be in action again on Tuesday night when West Ham United welcome Tottenham Hotspur for a reserve outing at Bishop's Stortford. Also likely to be on view is winger Junior Stanislas, who travelled with the first team to Saturday's game at Bolton Wanderers but is cup-tied and therefore cannot figure against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fifth-round replay on Wednesday.

Robert Hall struck twice as a very youthful West Ham United side featuring six schoolboys eased to an impressive away win at Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday. The England Under-16 striker, who is due to represent his country again next month, underlined his promise with two fine strikes in the second half after Ahmed Abdulla had opened the scoring soon after the interval. Hall, who does not turn 16 until October, has impressed whenever he has featured for the U18s this season. He now has four goals from seven appearances - although Saturday was only his second start. In difficult conditions, neither side looked like scoring during the first half of this FA Academy League inter-group encounter but it was a different story after the break. Colombian-born midfielder Cristian Montano combined with Hall to set up captain for the day Abdulla to score with a neat finish. Then, Hall struck his first midway through the half after good work again from Montano in tandem with Nick Barrett. The third goal was all about the young forward as he turned on the ball on the edge of the penalty area and rifled in an unstoppable shot. The win was particularly pleasing for Carr as he was without several of his regular Ul 8s because of Friday's reserve-team friendly at Chelsea - an impressive 4-2 success - and the second string's Barclays Premier Reserve League outing at Stoke City this coming Monday night.

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