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RESERVE REPORT

Posted on 19 February 2007  - 12:00

Our reserves bounced back from last week's reverse against Reading to record a 2-1 victory over West Ham at Bishop's Stortford on Monday night.

Our reserves bounced back from last week's reverse against Reading to record a 2-1 victory over West Ham at Bishop's Stortford on Monday night.

Defeat has been a rarity for Clive Allen's squad over the last couple of years - the loss against Chelsea in January was the first in the league for almost a year - and the way they started at Woodside Park indicated a desire to quickly erase last Monday's woes against the Royals.

Clive took a young squad up the M11 and started with four Academy players - Leigh Mills, Troy Archibald-Henville, Jake Livermore and David Hutton - but it was an older head who stamped his authority all over the game, paving the way for victory.

Charlie Lee skippered the side, started in central midfield and ran the show in the first half, scoring the first goal and playing a key role in the second as we secured a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes.

Never one to shy away from the physical stuff, Lee's position further up the pitch compared to his usual central defensive role meant his passing game hit the Hammers in more dangerous areas, his partnership with Livermore a highlight of that first period.

He handed the lads the perfect start with seven minutes on the clock, volleying home from close range after Phil Ifil dug out a fine cross from the right byline.

Lee then won the ball in midfield to set up a picturebook second goal 10 minutes later - he played it wide to David Hutton who angled in the perfect first-time cross for Livermore to side-foot home with some aplomb from 12 yards. Adel Taarabt then lashed inches wide from 25 yards.

West Ham were kept quiet in the first quarter and first threatened after 27 minutes when Hunt's cross found Jeffrey on the penalty spot, Ifil spotting the danger. Jeffrey then had the Hammers first attempt following Hunt's set-up, snatching his shot wide.

Taarabt tried his luck again, curling a free-kick a yard over as we remained on top and Charlie Daniels forced Walker into a fine save a minute before the interval following a break down the left, Emil Hallfredsson laid the ball inside to the supporting full-back and Daniels' near-post effort was tipped wide.

West Ham had a chance to claw a valuable goal back in injury time and forced Ben Alnwick into action for the first time, Hunt passed inside to Hales who controlled and shot low, Alnwick got down well to palm out to his left.

We were back on the front foot straight away in the second half as Taarabt's corner was met by Lee and Mills just failed to connect in front of goal.

That prompted West Ham's best spell. Fitzgerald failed to guide O'Neil's cross on target and the same player was denied by an excellent save one-on-one from Alnwick. However, the keeper could do little when a third chance came along just before the hour when Daniels was caught in possession by Jeffrey, he found Hunt who in turn rolled the ball into Sears who dinked over Alnwick and home for 2-1.

The teams took a step back after that goal and the next chance arrived after 69 minutes when Hallfredsson dinked a pass to Andy Barcham, he stepped inside N'Gala's tackle only for Tomkins to arrive in the nick of time to block his shot.

Barcham was there again five minutes later as Hutton's quick feet created space to fizz in a cross that the striker couldn't guide on target from six yards. Hunt then threatened to break away, Mills providing an important block on the edge of the box.

Chances were few and far between in the final 15 minutes and barring a collective bout of 'handbags' following Fitzgerald's crunching tackle on Taarabt, there was little other action of note, job done.




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