Ipswich Town v West Ham United U21 – Papa John’s Trophy – Portman Road – Report
Ipswich Town 1-2 West Ham United U21
West Ham United’s under 21 side started their Papa John’s Trophy campaign with a hard-fought victory over Ipswich Town at Portman Road.
Ipswich boss, Paul Cook made nine changes to the side that had started Saturday’s 5-2 Sky Bet League One home defeat at the hands of Bolton Wanderers. Meanwhile, Hammers Coach, Dmitri Halajko insisted his side were ready for the challenge following a decent start to their Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign.
But it was far from a perfect start by the East Londoners. James Norwood was on hand to fire Town ahead from eight yards after the Hammers backline had failed to deal with a long ball forward.
However, having found their feet, Keenan Appiah Forson squeezed a right-footed effort just beyond the reach of Ipswich stopper, Tomas Holy to level the score before the quarter of an hour mark.
There was a crisp tempo to the contest. Kaden Jackson was too high after bursting from deep, while Kamarai Swyer was thwarted by Holy as the sides exchanged opportunities ahead of the interval.
Matt Penny went close for Town on the resumption, but chances remained few and far between as the sides appeared content of possession-based football, largely centred around the middle third.
West Ham goalkeeper, Krisztian Hegyi managed to divert away from Norwood as the home side continued to look the more likely.
But then a moment of controversy. Holy dropped Emmanuel Longelo’s cross, seemingly behind the line. However, in the melee that followed, Town scrambled the ball clear – referee, Charles Breakspear content that the hosts had retrieved the situation in the nick of time. While West Ham protested, Ipswich broke swiftly – Zanda Siziba nodding over after Norwood had fashioned an opening from the right.
But with time running out, West Ham were provided with an opportunity to win the tie. Holy clattered into Jamal Baptiste – Armstong Okoflex firing the resulting spot-kick into the bottom corner of the net, much to the delight of the small contingent of Hammers fans towards the opposite end of the ground.
There was still time for Pierre Ekwah to receive a second yellow card following a foul on Zanda Siziba.
West Ham United Under 21s return to Premier League 2 Division 1 action on Monday, September 20 when take on Derby County at Loughborough University (7pm).
Ipswich Town: Tomas Holy, Matt Penney, Luke Woolfenden, James Norwood, Louie Berry (Zanda Siziba 67’), Idris El Mizouni, Kayden Jackson (Conor Chaplin 57’), Kane Vincent-Young, Tom Carroll, Albie Armin, Sam Norby (Capt) Subs not used: Vaclav Hladky, Joe Pigott, Jon Nolan, Cameron Humphreys, Elkan Baggott
Booked: Idris El Mizouni (foul)
Goals: James Norwood 2’
West Ham United U21: Krisztian Hegyi, Armstong Okoflex, Ajibola Alese (Capt), Pierre Ekwah, Harrison Ashby, Daniel Chester (Bernardo Rosa 88’), Livi Laing, Emmanuel Longelo, Kamarai Swyer (Sonny Perkins 71’), Keenan Appiah Forson, Jamal Baptiste Subs not used: Brian Kinnear, Mesaque Dju, Amadou Diallo, Michael Forbes, Kaelan Casey
Booked: Ajibola Alese (foul), Pierre Ekwah (foul), Armstrong Okoflex (foul)
Sent-Off: Pierre Ekwah (Foul – second yellow card)
Goals: Keenan Appiah Forson 12’, Armstrong Okoflex (penalty) 89′
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Assistants: Damith Bandara and Michael Chard
Fourth Official: Colin Hills