The goalkeeper kept out Dan Kemp’s spot kick shortly before half-time, having earlier been beaten by a fierce drive from Alfie Lewis.
Kemp went closest to adding to the scoreline at the start of the second period when his curler came back off the woodwork, but a lack of clear shooting chances for us meant we suffered our first Under-18 Premier League defeat of the season at the Hammers’ Little Heath academy facility.
Austin was in action early on, helping a corner kick over the crossbar, but he was powerless to prevent West Ham from taking an 11th-minute lead. Lewis exchanged passes with Joe Powell on the edge of the box before letting fly with a right-footed effort that whizzed across the keeper and inside the post.
Lewis almost doubled his tally when his volley from Kemp’s cut-back struck the foot of the upright with a quarter-of-an-hour gone while Joy Mukena headed over the bar following Samuel Shashoua’s corner in our first real spell of pressure as the half went on.
We might have grabbed an equaliser on the half-hour mark when Shashoua was clattered into by goalkeeper Rihards Matrevics on the edge of the Hammers’ box as he competed for Mukena’s long searching pass and the ball ran loose for Reo Griffiths 18 yards out. Unfortunately for us, Ben Wells was able to intervene as the striker’s tame effort drifted towards the open net and the hosts cleared their lines.
Griffiths headed wide 60 seconds later but two minutes before the break West Ham had a chance to double their lead when Kemp was tripped in the box by Jon Dinzeyi and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Kemp took the kick himself but Austin (pictured, above) got down low to his left to keep the ball out and keep us in the game.
Two minutes after the interval, Kemp worked his way into a shooting position and curled onto the base of the post with Austin gratefully pouncing on the rebound.
We had most of the possession after that with much of the remainder of the game played out in the Hammers’ half, although we were unable to fashion any clear chances. Substitute Aramide Oteh’s angled drive was pushed wide by Matrevics in stoppage time and with that the game slipped away from us.
Spurs U18s: Austin, Eyoma, Tsaroulla, Marsh (c), Mukena (Omolabi 81), Dinzeyi, Shashoua, Oakley-Boothe, Griffiths, Duncan (Oteh 73), Bennetts (P Maghoma 73). Substitutes (not used): Brown, Freeman (GK).
JOHN MCDERMOTT, HEAD OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT, SAID
“West Ham’s dangerous moments were far more dangerous than ours. We dominated the play at times but they dominated the chances in the early part of the game. I thought we got back into it in the first half, we had lots of possession and we worked tirelessly but with the level we want to get to, we’ve got to be able to work tirelessly and create and take more chances. It’s disappointing in terms of creating chances but I was pleased with the energy that we showed. There’s plenty to build on but plenty to work on. We’ve got a very talented group but the penny has got to drop on a number of details.”
We return to action at Hotspur Way next Saturday with what is always a good battle against Aston Villa. They’ll be looking to test our defensive resolve after playing out a goalless draw at home to Reading this weekend.