LFC U18s 1 (Trickett-Smith 13′) – 0 West Ham U18s

Following their FA Youth Cup Quarter Final triumph away to Hull City, Steve Cooper’s young reds were back in action when they faced West Ham at Kirkby. Cooper made several changes to the side that won at Hull, and rested a number of players including Ryan Fulton, Lloyd Jones, Yalany Baio, Jack Dunn and captain Jordan Lussey. Another key player that was missing was Jordon Ibe; this was because he was called up to Brendan Rodgers’ side against Southampton. It was also a historic day for 15 year old Jordan Rossiter, as the U16 England Captain took the captain’s armband of regular captain Jordan Lussey, so he was captaining team-mates up to 3 years older than him, so it is a fantastic achievement by the midfielder. This was the second time the Reds Academy have faced the Hammers, following a thrilling 3-3 draw in the U21s match on Monday Afternoon.

The game started in a very quiet way with minimal chances being created by either sides but each team looked to work hard in the early stages to get the opening goal of the game. That opener came on the 13th minute of the match when Alex O’Hanlon provided the cross for Daniel Trickett-Smith, who volleyed the ball home past Sam Baxter in the West Ham goal at the back post to make the breakthrough. Steve Cooper gave a start to 14 year old Sam Hart at full back but on the 19th minute, his game was cut short when an injury forced him off, and as a result was replaced by Nathan Burke. Ryan Crump also was given a start by Steve Cooper in place of the regular Ryan Fulton, and the 17 year old Scotsman did not put a foot wrong as he continuously stopped West Ham from equalizing, most notably stopping a West Ham free-kick in the 24th minute of the match.

Liverpool nearly doubled their lead on 31 minutes when goalscorer Trickett-Smith crossed it to winger Kris Peterson, who rose the highest but his header forced a good save out of Baxter and couldn’t find the net. The Sweden International then got another chance just before half time after he was well denied again by Baxter. Peterson seemed to be fouled inside the box by West Ham defender Lewis Paige, but he honestly remained on his feet to fire straight at the advancing keeper, as the half ended with Coopers men with their noses in front.

Even though Peterson created some great chances and looked the most dangerous to double Liverpool’s lead, he was substituted for Harry Wilson, and the Welshman made an immediate impact if it wasn’t for a last ditch clearance off the line by the West Ham. Also, in the 56th minute of the match, Wilson had another great chance following a creative through ball from Jordan Rossiter, but the winger could only find Sam Baxter, who had a great game for the visitors and stopped it being a lot worse than 1-0.

As Liverpool looked to double their lead and put the game out of the reach, they were also vulnerable on the counter attack and this tactic also proved costly as West Ham picked the ball up and advanced up the pitch. Substitute Thomas Gogo, who replaced Boyake Yiadon, found striker Kieran Sadlier, but the visitors’ top scorer couldn’t add to his tally of 2 goals in this stage of the season and forced another comfortable save off Ryan Crump in the Liverpool goal. Even though they were at risk in the defence, the home side still looked to double their lead when Cameron Brannagan picked the ball up 20 yards out, but his effort went just wide.

Steve Cooper’s men managed to hold on for another impressive win without a full strength side. The result means that Liverpool U18s go third in the league behind leaders Spurs and second placed Sunderland, but in the process leapfrog West Brom and Wolves. Liverpool pick up their 3rd win of this phase of the season, and have won their last 4 games. They are in 3rd but have played 2 games less than their competitors above them and are only 3 points of the leaders Spurs, and only one point off Sunderland. West Ham remains bottom on the league and in trouble with only 1 win in 7 games. Liverpool will now look to prepare for their 1st leg of their FA Youth Cup Semi Final against holders Chelsea.

LFC XI: Crump, Randall, Cleary, Brewitt, Hart, Brannagan, Rossiter, Ojo, Peterson, Trickett-Smith, O’Hanlon.

West Ham XI: Baxter, Kanolye, Girdlestone, Onnaraise, Paige, Makasi, Burke, Miles, Maliva, Boyake-Yiadon, Sadlier.

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