West Ham U21s preview

Newport County AFC will be looking to start their Leasing.Com Trophy exploits by securing all three points when they host West Ham United U21s on Wednesday night. Both sides best run in the competition is the First Knockout Round so they’ll be looking for an improvement, while the Young Hammers will also be determined to improve upon the zero points they picked up in last season’s edition.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this Leasing.Com Trophy fixture.


How they’ve started the league campaign

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West Ham United’s development squad have made an imperious start to the Premier League 2 – Division 2 campaign and currently sit joint top of the standings, only trailing Manchester United on goal difference after four fixtures.

The Young Hammers have accrued 10 points thus far and started the campaign with three successive victories – a 3-0 home success over Fulham, a 2-1 away victory at Newcastle United and another 3-0 triumph against Reading.

On Friday, the Young Hammers played at Old Trafford and secured a highly impressive 2-2 draw with Manchester United. Nathan Holland and Anthony Scully both scored, while the Red Devils found their goals through promising talent Angel Gomez and Largie Ramazani.


One to Watch – Ben Johnson

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A defender who is highly rated by the hierarchy at West Ham United, Ben Johnson has already made his Premier League debut for the Hammers despite only being 19-years of age.

The left-back started at Premier League champions Manchester City on February 27th 2019, putting in a superb performance which resulted in BBC Sport reporting £60 million Riyad Mahrez ‘failed to impress’ against the teenager.

Johnson has been with West Ham United since he was seven years old and has already signed his first professional contract with the Hammerss.


Manager – Dmitri Halajko

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A highly experienced youth team coach, Dmitri Halajko was appointed to the position of Under-23 Lead Coach at West Ham United earlier this summer.

The 39-year old joined the Hammers from fellow Premier League side Leicester City, where he had held the position of Head of Player Development for Under-9s to Under-23s since February 2017.

Halajko started his career at Colchester United where he spent 11 years and worked his way up to Academy Manager, before working for the Football Association as a Regional Coach Development Manager.

In 2012 he was appointed Academy Lead Coach for Under-12 to Under-16s at Norwich City, and went on to spend five years with the Canaries before moving to Leicester, eventually stepping up to become Lead Professional Development Phase Coach for Under-16 to Under-23s.



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Referee: John Busby

Assistant Referee 1: Darren Wilding

Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Hendley

Fourth Official: Ravel Cheosiaua

Currently embarking on his fourth season as a Football League referee, John Busby has taken charge of six fixtures thus far this campaign, brandishing 17 yellow cards and one red card from the prior contests.

His last match came on August 27th as fellow League Two outfit Crawley Town stunned Premier League new boys Norwich City in the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 victory.

That follows on from refereeing a total of 43 games during the 2018/19 campaign, a season in which Busby brandished 98 yellow cards and six red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.


County Connection

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Busby has officiated a match involving Newport County AFC on four previous occasions in League Two. The Exiles have a disappointing record in those prior contests with no wins thus far, having drawn two and lost the other two.

Last season, Busby presided over one County fixture but it didn’t go to plan on Boxing Plan as George Williams’ superb hat-trick gave Forest Green Rovers a comfortable 4-1 victory at Rodney Parade. Scot Bennett and David Pipe were booked, while Dan Butler received a red which was later rescinded on appeal.

In 2017/18, a further fixture was officiated by Busby as Matty Dolan scored his first County goal in a 1-1 home draw with Port Vale on November 10th. Dolan and Robbie Willmott saw yellows brandished in their direction.

The remaining two fixtures came in 2016/17 but County again didn’t fare too well at Rodney Parade. Scot Bennett, Jack Jebb, Josh Sheehan and Tom Owen-Evans were all booked in a 1-0 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers on November 22nd, while Darren Jones saw yellow in a 0-0 draw with Grimsby Town on 14th February.


Other Leasing.Com fixtures featuring League Two sides that evening

Grimsby Town vs Scunthorpe United

Salford City vs Aston Villa U21s

Macclesfield Town vs Newcastle United U21s

Port Vale vs Shrewsbury Town

Crewe Alexandra vs Burton Albion

Mansfield Town vs Everton U21s

Bolton Wanderers vs Bradford City

Blackpool vs Morecambe

Gillingham vs Colchester United

Portsmouth vs Crawley Town

Leyton Orient vs Southend United

Forest Green Rovers vs Southampton U21s

Coventry City vs Walsall

Exeter City vs Cheltenham Town

Plymouth Argyle vs Bristol Rovers

Stevenage vs MK Dons

Northampton Town vs Peterborough United


Can’t make the match?

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You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat (OfficialExiles) and Instagram pages.

As the game is a cup match, no live showing of this fixture will occur on iFollow Exiles. However, commentary by Charlie Brown and Richard Shepherd can be found at the Match Centre from 7:30pm.

An on-the-whistle match report of this match will be provided on the Club website upon the end of the game. Michael Flynn’s post-match analysis will appear on the website the day after the game, while you can watch all of Flynn’s post-match press conference as-well as two County players by subscribing to iFollow Exiles.