Under-23s come unstuck at West Ham

These teams were promoted from Premier League 2’s second tier at the end of the close of the truncated 2019/20 season but they have been encountering contrasting fortunes this time around. The Hammers approached this game still awaiting their first win of the campaign after having completed eight games. On the other hand United, who opened the season with a couple of defeats, racked up a sequence of two draws and three victories.

United showed just one change in personnel from the side that took three points off Spurs in our previous outing, Ethan Laird returning after injury to take up the right-back spot with Lukasz Bejger named among the substitutes.

There can be no doubting that this youthful side have been growing in confidence over recent weeks and that was evident from the off in this match against the Irons. The Reds were certainly looking the more likely to open the scoring with Anthony Elanga, Hannibal and Arnau Puigmal looking dangerous each time they went forward.

West Ham, to their credit, were putting up a stout defence and, in the 33rd minute, their determination was rewarded when they broke up-field to claim the lead. The Hammers hadn’t been completely out of the attacking picture and it was a three-man assault on United’s territory that brought success.

Defender Bernardo Rosa started the build-up before passing to Daniel Chesters who slid the ball into the Reds’ goal area where Hammers’ leading scorer Afolayan was waiting, but, before he make contact, United defender Fish slid in to put through his own goal.

United had enjoyed the bigger share of possession, with Hannibal and Elanga among those to have real chances, but it was West Ham who went in at the break holding the advantage.

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