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U18 Premier League: Top performers from 16th September 2023

Will Merry celebrating goal [Credit: Southampton FC]

A full weekend of fixtures took place in the U18 Premier League this week. In the south, Fulham’s 3-1 victory over Chelsea saw them overtake Crystal Palace at the top of the table following the Eagles’ 1-1 draw with Leicester. In the north, Manchester United lead the way with a 100% win record after beating Nottingham Forest 2-1. Elsewhere, Manchester City, Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers also maintained their unbeaten starts to the season. Here are the standout stars from another thrilling week of academy football.

Will Merry, Southampton

Will Merry netted a hat-trick as Southampton beat bottom side Norwich City 4-2 to pick up their first win of the season. The 17-year-old opened the scoring midway through the first half. With the game set at 2-2 approaching stoppage time, the forward netted an 89th-minute winner for the Saints to break Norwich hearts. He then added salt to the Canaries’ wounds by completing his hat-trick in added time to grab his fourth goal of the season.

Joshua Ajala, West Ham United

Joshua Ajala was the star of the show grabbing two goals and an assist as West Ham thrashed Aston Villa 5-2. The forward assisted Jemiah Umolu for the opener before adding two goals in 10 minutes for himself as the Hammers raced into a 3-1 lead before half time. The 16-year-old’s brace takes him to four goals in four games in all competitions in his debut season at U18 level.

Ellis Lehane, Tottenham Hotspur

Ellis Lehane scored twice and notched an assist in Tottenham’s 4-2 victory against Brighton & Hove Albion. Lehane, who turns 17 next month, opened his account for the 2023/24 season when he put Spurs in front after just four minutes. The forward netted his second 15 minutes later to double their lead before setting up Yusuf Akhamrich in first half stoppage time to take the game away from the Seagulls.

Matthew Warhurst, Manchester City

Matthew Warhurst bagged a hat-trick despite only being on the pitch for 64 minutes as Manchester City claimed a second consecutive 6-0 league win, this time against Middlesbrough. The forward opened the scoring inside 10 minutes, he then added two goals in three minutes shortly after the hour mark before being replaced. Warhurst has taken to playing at U18 level like a duck to water with five goals and an assist in just three appearances in his debut campaign.

Fraser Harper, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Fraser Harper was instrumental in Wolves’ victory over Derby as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season. The midfielder grabbed a goal and assist in what was his first appearance of the season at U18 level. Harper set up Fabian Reynolds’ first half opener before netting the winner just before the hour mark as Wolves came from behind to win 3-2. He has also featured in Premier League 2 already this season.

Trent Kone-Doherty, Liverpool

Trent Kone-Doherty notched a goal and an assist in Liverpool’s 4-2 win away at Blackburn Rovers. The Republic of Ireland U17 international set up Treymaurice Nyoni to open the scoring after five minutes before netting the Reds’ fourth himself in stoppage time. After a very impressive debut campaign for Liverpool last season, the forward has continued where he left off scoring two goals and providing two assists in his opening three league appearances.

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