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The EDS’ three-game winning streak came to an end with a narrow defeat against West Ham at the Academy Stadium.
The Hammers went ahead ten minutes before half-time through an unstoppable free-kick and held on to their lead despite an improved second-half performance from City.
West Ham flew out of the blocks and went close to forcing an early opening when winger Nathan Holland capitalised on a cheap surrendering of City possession and hit the woodwork with a curling effort.
The young Blues looked to find a foothold in the game, but the Hammers kept probing and asked several questions of City’s back line, who did well to weather a 15-minute spell of pressure.
Lukas Nmecha offered a valuable outlet to the youthful City side and forged a couple of notable half-chances to catch the Hammers out on the break.
But for all of City’s defensive work – during which Tosin Adarabioyo demonstrated why he is highly thought of at the club – there was nothing that could have been done about the visitors’ opener, which saw forward Marcus Browne fire an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards.
The goal seemed to spark City into life and the Blues went close to responding in perfect fashion, with Nmecha’s sliding effort going agonisingly close to converting Ian Carlo Poveda’s low cross.
And Nmecha, who has 13 PL2 goals to his name this season, was unlucky to not find an equaliser on the stroke of half-time when his strike was well saved by Hammers stopper Nathan Trott.
City’s momentum continued after the break, with Phil Foden becoming more influential in midfield.
The 17-year-old orchestrated a string of City chances that saw Poveda and Nmecha go close, before the latter had a penalty appeal waved away.
Foden was again involved in a brilliant piece of link-up play with Nmecha that resulted in a free-kick, but the striker’s low drive was gathered by the ‘keeper.
It began to feel as though it just was not going to be City’s day, with the young Blues lacking a final piece of quality to convert their many chances.
Brahim Diaz will have felt hard done to when his penalty shout was ignored by referee Simon Barrown, after the Spaniard had negotiated his way through a maze of West Ham challenges.
For all of City’s chances in the second half West Ham stood resolute, with their clean sheet owing as much to ‘keeper Trott as anyone else.
The Bermuda-born stopper produced a sublime save on 90 minutes from Nmecha, whose effort from point blank at the front post deserved more than a corner.
How we lined up
EDS boss Simon Davies made five changes to the side that beat Everton 4-3. Joel Latibeaudiere was suspended after his red card at Goodison Park, with Ian Carlo Poveda and Tom Dele Bashiru returning to operate in holding midfield roles.
Midfielders Matthew Smith and Marcus Wood flanked Tosin Adarabioyo in a much-changed back three, while Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz retained their places in the starting XI.
Captain Lukas Nmecha led the forward line, with Lorenzo Gonzalez and Ian Carlo Proveda playing on the wings.
What it means
It is the first time that City have failed to take maximum points since February 2, and the Blues are leapfrogged by West Ham with Simon Davies’ side now seventh in the Premier League 2 with two games to play.
We face Manchester United on Friday 13 April at the Academy Stadium in the penultimate game of the Premier League 2 season.