WANDERERS Under-18s coach David Lee praised his youngsters after they drew 2-2 at West Ham United on Saturday in their penultimate game of the season.
It could have been even better for the Whites had they not conceded late on but with his side finishing with four players from the u16s ranks, Lee says it was another creditable result against a strong Hammers side who are currently second in the FA U18 Premier League South Group.
Wanderers fell behind on 15 minutes when u21s striker Jordan Brown was in the right place to slot home past Harry Campbell at the second attempt.
But Lee and Tony Kelly’s side responded well and just eight minutes later, they were level.
Will Abbotts pulled the ball back from the bye-line and skipper Carl Kennedy was on hand to equalise from just inside the box.
West Ham had chances to regain the lead before half time but it remained level at the break.
After the restart, Steve Potts’ hosts again threatened the Wanderers goal but saw chances drift off target.
And they were punished for their profligacy 14 minutes from time when Abbotts got himself on the scoresheet. Saul Hamer won the ball in midfield and set up Abbotts who fired home an angled effort from 12 yards.
It looked like it would be a sixth away triumph of the season for the young Wanderers but ex-Arsenal forward Brown struck again for the east Londoners just a minute later.
There were chances for both sides to win it before the end but neither could find a way through to clinch all three points.
Nevertheless, the draw ended a disappointing run of three successive defeats for the Whites.
Lee said: “We started with two under-16s as centre-halves and finished with four u16s.
“Overall, I was pleased with the players’ efforts and play against a very strong West Ham team. To compete against them with younger players was an achievement.”
Wanderers U18s wrap up their season with a rearranged trip to Liverpool on Friday, kick off 11am.