REPORT: West Ham U23s 2 Swans U23s 3
12th December 2016
A brace from George Byers helped Swansea City Under-23s to their tenth Premier League 2 victory of the season with a 3-2 win at West Ham on Monday night.
The midfielder's low strike on the half-hour mark ensured the young Swans held the interval lead in Dagenham.
Botti Biabi's close-range strike doubled the Swans lead after the break before Byers netted his second of the night from the penalty spot.
Late drama saw West Ham net two late goals in the space of five minutes to ensure a nervy end, but Swansea held on to record a sixth successive Division 2 win.
Coach Gary Richards made four changes to the side that beat Norwich City Academy in Round 2 of the Checkatrade Trophy last week.
Australian goalkeeper Mark Birighitti returned to the starting XI as the Swans' only over-age player.
He was joined by young defender Aaron Lewis at left-back and Tom Holland in midfield.
Scottish striker Botti Biabi was the final change for the U23s. He replaced Oli McBurnie up front after the Scottish striker was involved in the Swans' 3-0 Premier League victory over Sunderland on Saturday.
WEST HAM U23s: Nathan Trott, Sam Westley (Noha Sylvestre, 46), Vashon Neufville, Domingos Quina, Tunji Akinola, Alex Pike, Dan Kemp (Djair Parfitt-Williams, 75), Moses Makasi, Antonio Martinez, Marcus Browne, Martin Samuelsen.
UNUSED SUBS: Jahmal Hector-Ingram, Sam Howes, Grady Diangana.
SWANS U23s: Mark Birighitti, Tyler Reid, Aaron Lewis, Ryan Blair, Keston Davies (capt), Joe Rodon, Daniel James (Alex Bray, 85), Tom Holland, Botti Biabi (Owain Jones, 72), George Byers, Alex Samuel.
UNUSED SUBS: Gregor Zabret, Jack Evans, Brandon Cooper.
West Ham made a lively start to proceedings in Dagenham with the first shot on target on five minutes as a neat one-two between Marcus Browne and Antonio Martinez saw Browne's effort saved at the near post by Mark Birighitti.
Two minutes later it was Swansea's turn to test out West Ham's goal as Nathan Trott saved Ryan Blair's 25-yard free-kick.
The Hammers keeper had to be alert minutes later to cut out Botti Biabi's cross from the right as Browne continued to look lively in midfield for the home side.
Birighitti's reflex save denied Dan Kemp after 22 minutes as the winger cut in from the right before unleashing a fantastic strike that almost looped over the Australian keeper from 25 yards.
But it was Swansea who took the lead on the half-hour mark as midfielder George Byers created space before firing a low shot past Trott into the bottom corner.
Birighitti's one-handed stop denied a deflected equaliser from Browne's deep free-kick with the Swans leading at the break.
HALF TIME: West Ham U23s 0 - 1 Swans U23s
The young Swans started the second half with intent as Ryan Blair's powerful shot sailed narrowly over the bar minutes into the restart.
But that miss didn't matter as the U23s doubled their lead after 50 minutes when Daniel James latched onto a loose ball to play in Biabi inside the area, and the striker slotted home his sixth of the season from close range.
The home side rallied as they looked to get a goal back only for Marcus Browne to pull his shot inches wide from inside the area before Domingos Quina fired narrowly over from 30 yards.
The Swans defence continued to frustrate the Hammers attack with excellent work at the back from Joe Rodon and Keston Davies, with Aaron Lewis and Tyler Reid on the flanks denying crosses from the home side.
Byers then netted his second of the night from the penalty spot to make it 3-0 after James was fouled in the area by substitute Noha Sylvestre.
However, West Ham did not give up as Martinez stabbed home a consolation goal minutes later before stoppage-time drama saw Quina net a second for the home side.
Despite a nervous final few seconds, the young Swans held on to win their sixth successive Premier League 2 game.