The U-21s from West Ham kicked off their EFL Trophy run against League Two side Southend United and won in dominant fashion.
Say what you will about West Ham and the current state and near-future of the Academy of Football, the youth setup at the club is stronger now than it has been in some time. This was highlighted by their 3-1 thrashing of Southend United in the EFL Trophy.
The U-21s got off to a strong start in this match with former Manchester United starlet Mipo Odubeko scoring just two minutes into the game. A turnover in the midfield saw the ball fall to Odubeko who strode forward and thrashed the ball into the bottom corner from roughly 30 yards out.
The shot was perfection and showed the confidence and self-belief this promising youngster has. To shoot that early into a match from that range, with the precision and velocity that that side-boot shot had was exceptional.
Southend would respond in the 13th minute with their own wondergoal as Stephen Humphreys smashed a ball from long-range into the roof of Joseph Anang’s goal. The keeper could do nothing to stop this thunderbolt. What he did do was stop Humphrey’s on a penalty shortly after, preserving the draw into the break.
The second half saw the Hammers’ sweet passing take off as a few plays that resulted in near-misses were quickly built up from speed and precise passing. Odubeko would net again as the result of some great passing, shooting from the top of the box into the roof of the Southend goal.
In stoppage time, Conor Coventry would lob the keeper for the third goal for the Hammers as he intercepted a longball and caught the keeper off the line who was trying to spur the attack forward.
Reports from Roshane Thomas of The Athletic, who was in attendance for the match, suggests the young Irons were professional and poised across the board. Thomas highlighted Mipo Odubeko as his man of the match and 18-year-old Harrison Ashby as his one-to-watch.
It is also believed that Mesaque Dju, Emmanuel Longelo, Jamal Baptise, Joseph Anang, and Sean Adarkwa all played very well in the win. With a great team performance, these youngsters will build confidence and springboard into their play this season, also potentially stepping into the first team if the opportunity is presented. A great win and a great showing of young, promising talent!