By Scott Taylor
Toni Gomes scored on his Liverpool Under-18s debut but his side twice threw away a lead in the game as they lost 3-2 at West Ham on Saturday. Matt Carter equalised for the Hammers before Herbie Kane continued his scoring form by restoring Liverpool’s lead. Idris Kanu scored just three minutes after coming on to make it 2-2. The West Ham Under-16 youngster then made it 3-2 four minutes later to win it for the hosts.
After a goalless first half, the game sparked into action just four minutes after the interval. Portugal youth international Gomes made up for his earlier chance when he cut in off the wing and fired home to give Neil Critchley’s side the lead.
Just two minutes later, West Ham were level in the most bizarre of circumstances. Matt Carter’s corner avoided everyone and flew into the back of the net. Despite protests from the Liverpool players for an apparent foul on Owen Wheeler, the goal was awarded.
The visitors recovered and Herbie Kane followed up his two goals against Brighton with another one in London. His strike from 20 yards restored Liverpool’s lead in an end-to-end second half. However, just as his side looked like they were going to hold on to their lead, Idris Kanu netted an equaliser just seven minutes from time. Kanu, who played for the Under-16s earlier in the day, came off the bench to grab a leveller.
Kanu was again in the goals as he netted the Hammers’ winner with only three minutes left on the clock. History repeated itself because Kanu scored the Under-16s winner against Liverpool and the substitute did it again hours later to haunt Critchley’s chargers.
More positive news for Liverpool was that Australian midfielder Jake Brimmer made his first start since picking up a long term injury, but it wasn’t to be for Liverpool at the Little Heath Sports Ground.
After the game, Critchley was frustrated that the game panned out just like the defeat against Brighton and blasted his side’s set piece defending. He told Liverpoolfc.com: “That was really difficult to take because it was very similar to what happened to us when we lost 3-2 at Brighton last week. At 2-1 we were in control of the game but our inability to defend from set pieces is costing us dear. We conceded straight from a corner and then gave the ball away which led to their free-kick.
However, he did give credit to both Gomes and Kane and did take a positive outlook on the game as well. He added: “There were positives for us to take. It was great to see Toni score on his debut at this level and also Herbie getting another goal which was a superb strike.”
Liverpool XI: Wheeler, Virtue, Kane, Parker, Polgar, Brimmer (Owens 60), Madger Gomes, Alexander-Arnold, Toni Gomes, Ejaria (Nicholas 79), Marsh.