U16s earn 2-2 draw against West Ham.
The Hammers took the lead with just three minutes on the clock. A corner on the U’s left hand side was swung into the middle and it glanced off a Hammers head to beat Carroll on its way into the back of the net.
Tyler Brampton and Tariq Issa got the U's goals in front of 266 fans on the night.
They conceded a goal at the start of each half, but fought back to finish the stronger and score two goals of their own to earn a draw against West Ham's own future talents.
Colchester United's U16s showed a healthy crowd just what they're made of, with an impressive second half display on Thursday night.
Carroll did well not long afterwards to turn away a fierce shot from the edge of the box, before the U’s got their first half sight of goal when a clever lofted ball from captain Harrison almost provided Semedo with a chance, but the Hammers keeper was out quick to collect.
The Hammers almost capitalised on a mishit backpass fifteen minutes in, but Carroll watched as the striker lifted the ball over the bar.
Winger Semedo broke the offside trap just after that chance, bustling in on goal where he was held back as he went to take his shot, with the referee giving a penalty.
Striker Joel Atkin took the penalty, but he blasted his effort over the bar to spurn the opportunity of drawing the U’s level.
The U’s were growing into the game, though, and had another chance midway through the first half when Gardiner got up highest at a corner but couldn’t direct his header on target.
Chances were at a premium, but the Hammers could have doubled their advantage five minutes before half time, when they got away down the right, only to turn a shot from a central position just over the bar.
Then, from a scramble at a corner, it was strong U’s defending to see away the set piece and ensure the U’s went in only a goal behind.
Matt Bentley and Wayne Blackman came on ten minutes into the second half, replacing Bari and Atkin.
The U’s next effort came from captain Harrison, who let fly from distance, but his effort was always wide of the keeper’s near post.
The Hammers doubled their advantage on the hour mark, though, as U’s keeper Carroll was beaten by a fierce shot from the right hand side.
Brampton tried for an immediate riposte, darting towards goal and curling in a shot which ended up going straight at the keeper.
Diaz Wright – brother of U’s first teamer Drey – was introduced for Semedo on 65 minutes, and the U’s were back in the match three minutes later.
A fine ball slid Andrews into the box and he picked out Brampton’s run into the area. His first shot was blocked, but he reacted well and poked the ball past the helpless keeper and into the net.
The U’s were then nearly level as a cross from the left came off the wrong side of the defender’s head and dropped only just outside of the post.
It was the start of a really good spell for the U’s, and they drew level on 72 minutes. Some good footwork from goalscorer Brampton sent a dangerous ball across the six yard line and Issa dived low at the far post to head home.
The substitutes had had an impression since coming on and another U’s break down the left saw the ball squared to Blackman, who tried to open his body up to shoot, but only managed to put his shot wide of goal.
And the U’s nearly snatched it at the death, Issa taking a shot on from distance after a mistake by the Hammers back line and it fizzed just wide.