West Ham’s U21 team shocked Newport County in the EFL Trophy last night. After trailing 4-1, the young Hammers roared back to complete a stunning 5-4 comeback victory.
Goals from Anthony Scully (two), Joe Powell, Veron Parkes and Kai Corbett turned things around for West Ham. It was a real sign that the academy is alive and kicking.
West Ham were without several first-choice U21 players last night. There was no Nathan Holland, Goncalo Cardoso, Nathan Trott, Oladapo Afolayan, Aji Alese or Conor Coventry.
But despite the major absences, West Ham showed great character to come from behind and win. Here are three players who stood out last night.
West Ham might have conceded four last night but Ben Johnson was the standout performer. Without Alese or Cardoso alongside him, he was the main man in a makeshift back four.
The 19-year-old’s main contribution was at the other end of the pitch, though. With West Ham 4-2 down, he raced down the right flank and floated a perfect cross for Parkes to score. Johnson is probably next in line if there is a full-back injury.
West Ham midfielder Joe Powell helped to inspire the comeback last night. With the score at 4-1, the 20-year-old kept a cool head to slot his penalty past the goalkeeper and get West Ham back in the game.
From then on, both Powell and Dan Kemp were dictating play in the middle of the park. Powell always looked lively on the ball and showed his class against League Two opposition.
Anthony Scully was West Ham’s hero in this game. In the early stages of the match, he produced a poacher’s finish, tapping in from close-range after an initial shot was parried into his path.
The 20-year-old then became the producer, rolling the ball into the path of Corbett for the equaliser. In the dying moments of the game, Scully became the hero when he bundled in from close-range to seal an unlikely win. Scully can play anywhere in the attack and his two-goal cameo would have caught the eye.