Heroic under 21 Lewis Orford sets up a semi final spot


The much heralded Hammers under 21 Lewis Orford was the hero as the Development team forced its way into the Premier League International Cup semi-finals following a 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion. Orford headed home in extra time after a titanic battle between the two sides at Rush Green.

Heroic under 21 Lewis Orford sets up a semi final spot

Indeed, the Hammers looked on the verge of an exit after Brighton’s Cameron Peupion struck a first-half goal to leave the U21s with plenty of work to do by the interval.

The Brighton No7 was sent free and finished into the bottom left corner past Joseph Anang on 16 minutes.

George Earthy

          Heroic under 21 Lewis Orford sets up a semi final spot

Ollie Scarles’ free-kick saw the under 21s equalise in the second half with a free kick but both sides were  busy as they hunted the win.

Heroic under 21 Lewis Orford sets up a semi final spot

The visitors had their chances in extra time with Orford, Scarles, and Kamarai Swyer all going close before Orford who had been in brilliant form throughout headed home the winner to avoid spot-kicks, meeting Junior Robinson’s cross.

Coach Steve Potts said afterwards: “I think in the first half, we had our problems, and we couldn’t hurt them enough, but I don’t think we opened them up with chances like we normally do.

“It was a good time to get in and re-group because we started to be the better team in the second half, create opportunities, and got a good goal to equalise too.

“It was then good to get to 90 minutes and re-focus again. I thought Tottenham on Saturday we went to the limit – and we did that again against Brighton and got on top with a really good goal to win it.

“We spoke about it after the Tottenham game: when you are really fatigued can you still produce a moment of quality? And we did that for the goal, and it was great play from Lewis Orford, George Earthy, and Junior Robison on the overlap.

“I think that’s why playing these tough games are so important for the group and the last few games [Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton] have been a real test and overall I have been really pleased with our performances.”

West Ham United U21s: Anang, Robinson, Laing, Casey © (Tarima 109), Luizao, Scarles (Battrum 100), Kelly, Orford, Moore (Swyer 46), Mubama (Clayton 91), Earthy

Subs: Knightbridge (GK), Rigge, Sowunmi

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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!"

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