City beaten 2-0 at Rush Green
NORWICH City’s under-21s were beaten 2-0 by West Ham United at Rush Green on Friday night, with the Hammers moving three points clear of City at the top of the table.
The home side took a first half lead through Rob Hall’s looping header, but weren’t able to seal the win until Pelly Ruddock’s powerful low effort past Declan Rudd in stoppage time.
Scott Marshall fielded two trialists in a side that included three under-18s – 17-year-olds Josh and Jacob Murphy, as well as first-year scholar Cameron King.
It was the Hammers who enjoyed the majority of the early chances however as Paul McCallum fluffed his lines in the opening ten minutes after some good work from Hall on the flank.
Just minutes later it was Hall who was on the end of the chance, and proved to be more clinical than his team-mate, guiding a well-placed header over Rudd courtesy of a pinpoint pass from Dan Potts to make it 1-0.
A battling performance from a determined City was almost rewarded on 20 minutes when trialist Aaron Tumwa directed a header goal wards, only to see Ian Driver get back to clear off the line when he has looked certain to level the match.
Then 64 minutes in, there was a role reversal as City full-back Ewan McNeil was the man to clear off the line – Dan Potts’ drive clawed away amid protests that the ball had crossed in fact trickled over.
In a game of few chances, Marshall’s side were not giving up the fight and continued to try to break down a stubborn Hammers defence, however the result was put beyond any doubt on the 90 minute mark, as Ruddock engineered an opening inside the box before firing past Rudd into the corner.
FULL-TIME: West Ham United U21s 2, Norwich City U21s 0
WEST HAM: Spiegel, Driver, Potts, Moncur, Chambers, Spence, Powell (Ruddock 55), Lletget, McCallum, Fanimo, Hall
SUBS NOT USED: Lee, Baxter, Tombides, Wearen
CITY: Rudd, McNeil, Tumwa, Durojaiye, Gafaiti, Sheriff, Jacob Murphy, Hamilton (Morris 82), Loza, King (Clunan 65), Josh Murphy (Hall-Johnson 82)
SUBS NOT USED: Steer, Barker