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Brilliant under 18s reach FA Youth Cup semi final

U18s celebrate victory at Ipswich

By Hughie Southon

West Ham’s brilliant under 18s beat Ipswich in extra time to take their place in the FA Youth Cup semi finals last night.

In a pulsating game they overcame the Tractor Boys 2-4 who were reduced to 10 men when holding a 1-0 lead before coming from behind again to level at 2-2.

Now the Hammers will be looking for a home draw after coming out of the hat second every time so far  and the match will be played over 90 minutes with extra time and penalties.

To reach this stage they have had to beat Sheffield United, Burnley, Stoke City and finally at Ipswich.

Head coach Kevin Keen hailed every member of his  squad and backroom staff following the win  in an energy sapping quarter-final .

The lead coach was proud of his players and backroom team for the way they handled a fourth consecutive away tie and earned their place in the semi-finals for the first time since Tony Carr’s side lifted the Club’s third Youth Cup in 1999.

David Moyes and Academy manager Kenny Brown looked on as the goals were shared with captain Gideon Kodua, Callum Marshall, substitute Ryan Battrum and Divin Mubama on target,

But every player played their part on a cold night at Portman Road, where 663 West Ham fans gave their young charges vocal backing among a vociferous 3,721-strong crowd.

Afterwards Keen said: “It wasn’t just the starting eleven, either, as Ryan Battrum came on and scored a goal and also had an assist, and Liam Jones and Ty Akpata too.

We talk about it being a squad game and they came on in extra-time and really helped turn the game for us.

People talk about it being hard against ten men and it’s a strange one because in a one-off game you’re thinking ‘We’re alright, we’re eleven against ten, we’ll win this’ but they were excellent and we could have been the fall guy.

We kept our patience, their goalkeeper made a couple of good saves and it’s turned into a really good night.

Hopefully the injuries are not too bad [to Ollie Scarles and Lewis Orford] as Ollie took a real knock on the side of the pitch.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon