Tough day for City U18s as Hammers romp to Youth Cup win
- Credit: Denise Bradley
It proved a disappointing Carrow Road experience for Norwich City's youngsters as they resumed their FA Youth Cup campaign, losing 5-0 to a lively West Ham under-18s side.
The young Canaries came into the game full of hope after a 4-2 win over Wolves at St George's Park in December, with Abu Kamara scoring a hat-trick, ahead of the competition being suspended due to Covid-19.
The Hammers had only scraped past Luton on penalties in the third round but looked far too strong for the hosts in a dominant first half, racing into a 3-0 lead.
Ademipo Odubeko was leading the line for the visitors, having made his senior debut in the FA Cup earlier in the year, playing almost an hour of an FA Cup defeat at Manchester United recently and being included among David Moyes' substitutes in the Premier League regularly.
The 18-year-old Irishman was too sharp for City centre-back Jaden Warner in the box in the 11th minute, spinning and smashing a low left-footed effort past Sam Blair from close range.
Managed by Hammers legend and former Colchester United boss Kevin Keen, the visitors kept the Canaries defence constantly busy, with Blair getting down well to deny Kai Corbett in the 28th minute.
The second came four minutes later, with skipper Jayden Fevrier charging down the right and crossing to the back post, where Odubeko was waiting to fire home from close range.
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And it was 3-0 in the final minute of the half, with Fevrier speeding into the box, cutting inside and firing a shot across Blair into the top corner.
The closest Norwich had come was winger Tony Springett getting into the left channel and blasting a rising effort towards the near top corner in the 40th minute which Krisztian Hegyi turned around his post.
With head of football development Steve Weaver and U18s coach Greg Crane in charge, the hosts showed signs of life and really pushed for a goal early in the second half.
Tom Dickson-Peters and winger Jon Rowe combined and Kamara just had the keeper to beat but clipped the far post with a low effort.
Hegyi also rushed out to deny Rowe after Springett's run and cross from the right was flicked on by Kamara.
At the other end, Odubeko also smashed against the foot of the left post as he searched for his hat-trick goal and the powerful Hammers forward also tested Blair with a low effort.
The tie was killed off in the 73rd minute though, when Corbett whipped a great corner in from the left which went over everyone and defender Jamal Baptiste was able to nod the ball over the line from point-blank range.
More salt was rubbed into the wound with five minutes remaining though, Corbett completing a weaving run past tiring legs into the box before thumping low into the bottom-left corner past Blair.
NORWICH (4-4-2): Blair (C); Jackson (Thorn 58), Warner, Shipley, Stewart; Springett, Brooke, Khumbeni (Earley 60), Rowe (Duffy 78); Kamara, Dickson-Peters. Unused subs: Hills, Okeowo, Alidor-Hamilton
WEST HAM (3-5-1): Hegyi; Potts, Lang, Baptiste; Fevrier (C), Woods, Swyer (Mubama 81), Perkins, Clayton (Robinson 87); Corbett, Odubeko. Unused subs: Knightbridge (GK), Forbes, Diallo, Earthy, Adu
Goals: Odubeko (11, 32), Fevrier (45), Baptiste (73), Corbett (86)
Booked: Woods, Corbett, Swyer
REFEREE: Callum Walchester