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West Ham U18s 1-0 Spurs

Academy Manager John McDermott praised his young team's performance but said we lacked a little punch in the final third as we kicked-off Phase Two of the Barclays U18 Premier League with a 1-0 loss at West Ham on Saturday.

Ben Marlow scored the only goal of the game for West Ham just after half-time in both teams' first fixture in Group One.

We enjoyed long spells of possession and when we found a way through a determined Hammers' backline, home goalkeeper Gines Guzman Rosique was up to the task.

"I was really pleased in the first half at how well we played, kicking against the wind," said John. "I thought we were outstanding and adapted to the conditions.

"I was disappointed that we didn't score in the first half. That's something we've got to look at. We were a little impotent with our finishing touches but in our build-up, we played in and around the box really well, creative, lots of movement. That was pleasing.

"They scored early in the second half. The match got scruffy, a bit like a basketball game for 20 minutes where we lost our rhythm and our shape.

"We seized the initiative again and their goalkeeper made three excellent saves from Daniel Akindayini and Nabil Bentaleb, but they were gilt-edged chances.

"Our final ball and final finish must be better, but the play behind that at times was outstanding.

"The stand-out performances were Grant Ward, at times unplayable and the best player on the pitch and I was also pleased with Laste Dombaxe, playing out of position at centre-half."

Spurs U18s (4-3-3): McGee; McQueen, Dombaxe, Ogilvie, Ward; Winks (McEneff, 70), Lesniak, Bentaleb; Sonupe (Zapata-Caicedo, 65), Akindayini, Miller. Unused subs: Priestley, Brown.