Fleet 2-1 West Ham United

Three times these teams have met and three times now it has ended 2-1… on this occasion the Fleet taking the honours to cancel out the visitors’ second-half equaliser. Dom and Domi were the men on the scoresheet to keep Fleet’s fine pre-season form ticking over.

It was another strong West Ham youth lineup in their third recent visit to the Fleet, the team including Republic of Ireland youth international and former Peterborough loanee Conor Coventry and players with first-team squad experience including Keenan Appiah-Forson and Daniel Chesters.

Chesters, on loan with Colchester last season, caught the eye early on and his attack through the middle needed snuffing out by Omari Sterling-James and Ben Chapman.

It was an open game but with nothing to trouble either goalkeeper particularly. Fleet might have changed that on 16 minutes when Josh Wright found Dominic Poleon lurking. He was denied by Brazilian signing Luizao and Sterling-James’ cross was steered away.

Haydn Hollis whacked clear another useful attack from the Hammers’ U18 goal supremo Callum Marshall on 20 minutes before Theirry Nevers almost benefitted from a ricochet back off Chris Haigh that looped into the Plough End and the same pair went head-to-head again on 34 minutes, Haigh coming off better as he plucked the ball away from the West Ham striker as he eyed up the target.

Coventry directed a good shot over the bar but it never seemed likely to bother Haigh while the Fleet public were treated to some great one-touch football at times, with Chapman, Sterling and Billy Clifford industrious from the middle. That buildup from the middle paid off on 41 minutes when Craig Tanner forced Jacob Knightbridge to only divert the ball back down to the waiting Poleon who needed no invitation to steer it home.

Poleon fires home the Fleet goal in the first-half

Sterling had been busy posing West Ham problems early in the second-half and he almost set Clifford up for number two on 52 minutes, the midfielder sliding as his shot skipped narrowly wide.

West Ham drew themselves level on the hour mark after a period of possession football. Marshall slid in eight yards out after some neat buildup and although Hollis stretched a leg out alongside him, he could only help the ball on its way.

Luke O’Neill responded with a free-kick that took flight just over the bar and the crossbar at the other end saw a similar view of the ball when Marshall drove a shot from Lewis Orford’s pass inches high.

It was a game of inches with Fleet’s next attack on 75 minutes, a scintillating run through the middle by Franklin Domi ending with Chapman’s speedy, searching low delivery that just evaded Shaq Coulthirst and Nathan Odokonyero. Moments later Toby Edser had a chance from the opposite side of the box that also flew across the goal and the chances kept coming with Chapman’s ambitious drive from wide nestling on the roof of the net.

Odokonyero was next as Knightbridge’s goal led a charmed life but it only held until the 80th minute when Domi surged on to an intelligent Nathan Odokonyero pass in the box to drive through and slam the ball home.

That sent the Fleet fans into the night happy and more than ready to take on the National League… but not quite yet with Chelsea’s U21 providing the final test.

EUFC squad from: Cousins, Haigh, O’Neill, Martin, Wright, Wakely, Sterling-James, Cisse, Tanner, McQueen, Haigh, Firth, Poleon, Cundle, Domi, Edser, Clifford, Odokonyero, Chapman, Amoo, Coulthirst, Hollis
WHUFC: Knightbridge, Chesters, Forbes, Coventry, Laing, Luizao, Earthy, Appiah-Forson, Marshall, Nevers, Scarles. Subs: Terry, Tarima, Kelly, Moore, Kodua, Woods, Orford
Attendance: 1,095


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First-Team Squad