Remi Coddington and his West Ham United Under 18 teammates suffered only their second defeat in seven games, losing 3-0 to Norwich City at Little Heath.
Coach Kevin Keen’s U18’s went into the game off the back of a triumphant result in the FA Youth Cup a week ago, when they overcame Luton Town U18s 4-2 on penalty kicks following a 3-3 draw after extra-time at Kenilworth Road.
A combative – yet quiet in terms of chances – U18 Premier League South match developed, with Coddington and West Ham playing with plenty of intent, if not always the final ball to match.
Just five minutes before half-time, however, Norwich’s lead began to look insurmountable. Following a West Ham corner, the Canaries countered at pace and after a strike towards his near post was parried away by Serine Sanneh, Joe Duffy powered the ball home.
A 2-0 deficit was a harsh reflection on a half in which the Hammers had more than played their part, but the match slipped further away from them in the opening minutes of the second period.
Moments after second-half substitute goalkeeper Jacob Knightbridge had done brilliantly to deny Thorn with his legs from a one-on-one, Manos made no mistake from outside the box with a low curling effort.
The Hammers continued to press forwards in the remainder of the match, coming close through Divin Mubama and Isaac Evans while being denied on several other occasions by some fine last-ditch defending.
Yet ultimately, West Ham were unable to grab the consolation goal their general play at the very least deserved.