Tyreece John-Jules’ first-half strike proved to be the difference on Friday night as we ran out 1-0 winners over West Ham United at Meadow Park.
Full of confidence after scoring for the first team in Dubai on Tuesday, the 18-year-old delivered a mature performance as our lone forward, troubling the Hammers’ defence throughout.
After a slow and physical start to the game, it looked like we’d taken the lead with the first chance of the evening as John-Jules converted Bukayo Saka’s cutback inside the area. But before the 18-year-old could wheel away in celebration, the referee blew his whistle for offside.
Shortly after John-Jules missed the target from a dangerous corner, before Xavier Amaechi cut in from the right and fired narrowly wide of the far post.
John-Jules then opened the scoring less than five minutes before the break.
The West Ham defence lost possession inside their area and gifted the ball to the 18-year-old, who instantly turned and found the back of the net with a powerful strike at the near post.
Following the break, Premier League 2 debutant Arthur Okonkwo displayed great bravery to race off his line and dive at the feet of Nathan Holland, preventing a clear-cut opportunity.
Shortly after, Amaechi’s curling free-kick from 20 yards found the side netting. Joe Willock was then denied by a stunning diving save.
The visitors applied some late pressure, with Holland and Ben Johnson coming close, but our defence stood strong to keep back-to-back clean sheets in the PL2.
WHAT IT MEANS
Freddie Ljungberg’s side will now face Derby County in PL2 on Monday, April 8.
The game will take place at Meadow Park with kick-off at 7pm (UK time).
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