Time constraints mean that this will only be a very short piece on this morning’s Academy match with West Ham, but, the truth is that, even if I had all afternoon to describe it, I still wouldn’t be able to come up with any more than I have done here about a very poor game of football between two sides who cancelled each other for most of the time. I missed the first ten minutes or so and so there may be a possibility that there was plenty of action during that time, but given what followed in the next eighty minutes, I doubt it somehow.
I don’t like being so critical about an Under 18’s game and it’s a fact that end of season matches on a dry surface at Leckwith generally don’t produce much in the way of good football due to the lively surface, but, with the wind nowhere near as strong as it has been for some recent fixtures at the Athletics Stadium, that can only be offered as a partial excuse for the dismal fare served up. West Ham were the better side and deserved their win gifted to them by a couple of errors midway through the second half – City’s number six (I think it was Ben Nugent) passed straight to a West Ham player who fired in a shot which, although well struck, was straight at goalkeeper Richards who made a mess of what should have been a regulation save and let the ball slip past him into the net.
The match opened up a bit in the last twenty minutes to produce some goalmouth action, but, before that, City had nothing to offer going forward, with only an optimistic shout for a penalty just after West Ham went ahead raising even the possibility of a goal. Following that though, a late header from a corner that was cleared off the line by a visiting defender and a close range effort by substitute Jesse Darko (the three City subs did at least add some urgency to their team’s display) which was blocked by the keeper did finally threaten a City goal, but, with the Hammers also hitting the bar in the closing stages, as well as seeing Richards turn aside a shot at his near post, the visitors were able to keep that slight edge which they had enjoyed throughout much of a very forgettable game.