HOW IT HAPPENED
Freddie Ljungberg’s under-23s recorded their first win of the season on Friday night, thanks to a brace from Eddie Nketiah and Julio Pleguezuelo’s looping header.
Reiss Nelson started brightly on the left wing and within minutes had carved open the game’s first opportunity. The winger beat his marker and drilled a ball across the face of goal, but Charlie Gilmour failed to convert from close range.
West Ham then went on to enjoy a spell of possession and work a handful of half-chances, but after playing a long ball over the Hammers defence, Nketiah found himself through on goal and he found the bottom corner.
Nketiah’s goal helped to increase the tempo of our play, and less than 10 minutes later Pleguezuelo doubled our advantage with a looping header from distance.
But after such a strong finish to the first half, we started the second sloppily and allowed the Hammers to pull one back. Xande Silva was left unmarked inside the box and he made no mistake in finding the back of the net with a header from close range.
However, we responded almost instantly through Nketiah, who pounced on a loose ball inside the six-yard box to restore our advantage.
Joe Willock then tried his luck with a long-range effort, but to our frustration, the Hammers would reduce the deficit once more through Reece Oxford, who bundled the ball in from six yards out.
Moments later Nketiah rifled the ball from 20 yards and rattled the underside of the crossbar, before Xavier Amaechi’s gentle touch at the near post came within inches of finding the bottom corner.
West Ham applied some late pressure as they continued to hunt for an equaliser, but our defence stood strong and held their shape to ensure that we left the London Stadium with all three points.
We must now turn our attention to our Premier League 2 clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Friday, August 31.
The game will take place at Emirates Stadium with kick-off at 7pm (UK time).
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