Remi Coddington and his West Ham United Under 23 teammates produced an incisive attacking performance in their opening friendly game of pre-season, seeing off Loughborough University 4 - 1.
Following two weeks of more physically focused work, the young Hammers capped off a week-long tactical training camp with an impressive attacking display against the United Counties League outfit.
Plenty of fresh faces were on display in the West Ham outfit, including numerous U18s players - on their own training camp at Loughborough University - and summer signings Thierry Nevers and Armstrong Oko-Flex, who both started in an exciting attacking trio alongside Amadou Diallo.
Indeed, it was the latter who gave them the lead inside the opening two minutes. Following a season disrupted by injury, Diallo got his 2021/22 off to the best possible start with a surging dribble to beat his marker into the area, striking across goal and low into the bottom corner with precision.
After a spell of controlled possession in and around the Loughborough area, a quick give-and-go on between Oko-Flex and Diallo led to the former having his heels clipped as he prepared to let fly inside the box.
Republic of Ireland youth international Oko-Flex – initially playing through the center – stepped up and struck a firm, confident penalty, high beyond the reach of the Loughborough goalkeeper, who had guessed the right way but stood little chance of stopping the effort.
West Ham tripled their lead on 25 minutes. Good work from Diallo and Harrison Ashby down the right flank created clear space for Emmanuel Longelo to shoot from 30 yards. His deflected low strike fell perfectly into the path of Bernardo Rosa who, with time and space, tucked away the opportunity.
Loughborough did pull one back on the hour mark when Moore, in an offside position, cleverly allowed a through pass to run in behind, allowing Tongsoung Lee to break in behind and slot the ball home.
A number of U18s players entered the fray and rose to the opportunity, including Coddington.
As West Ham continued to mount pressure upon the Loughborough goalmouth, U18s forward Coddington, playing in the unorthodox position of left-back, produced an exquisite curling cross which bounced up just in front of the stretching Mubama and wide of the far post.
And the youth team representatives continued to impress when 16-year-old George Earthy’s fine slide-rule pass granted Dju the time to take a touch and clip the ball over the onrushing ‘keeper, rounding off the afternoon's scoring - and with it, a solid start to pre-season for the collective Academy of Football.