A Luis Boa Morte goal proved enough to give West Ham the spoils as our reserves fell to defeat at Upton Park on Tuesday evening.
A Luis Boa Morte goal proved enough to give West Ham the spoils as our reserves fell to defeat at Upton Park on Tuesday evening.Clive Allen’s side failed to recover from an early strike from the former Fulham man to inflict our first defeat of the season after five games.
The decisive strike came after four minutes when Kyel Reid’s teasing ball into the area from the left flank was nodded home from five yards by Boa Morte.
The hosts appeared to grow in confidence after seizing the advantage, and only a last-ditch challenge by Leigh Mills from an almost identical move involving the same players kept them from extending their advantage.
Cian Hughton cut in from the left and struck a low shot at the near post to force Richard Wright into action for the first time after a quarter of an hour, getting down well to gather the ball at the second attempt.
West Ham continued to dominate however, with Simon Dawkins cutting a lonely figure on his own up front as we struggled to get the ball out of our own half with the experience and physical strength of the home side telling.
Boa Morte was proving the greatest threat and on the half-hour mark he nearly had a second, hitting a sweet shot from 25 yards which was heading for the top right-corner until Tommy Forecast got enough on it to acrobatically turn the ball away.
The Portuguese international had another chance to double West Ham’s lead four minutes later when he slid in from five yards but just failed to make contact with a John Pantsil low centre from the right.
Former Spurs man Davenport ensured the two teams went in level at the break, though, getting a leg in the way to deny Dawkins and send the ball over the bar after good footwork from the young forward inside the box.
David Hutton was replaced at the interval with Jonathan Obika entering the fray as Clive Allen attempted to redress the balance, although West Ham continued to look the more threatening side at the start of the second 45 minutes.
Reid was thwarted with a great shot from outside the area when Jake Livermore managed to get a boot in the way as the ball fizzed just over the crossbar.
We almost restored parity against the run of play when Leigh Mills rose highest to head a Wayne Routledge cross goalward, only for the ball to come back off the post in the 55th minute.
The chance appeared to galvanise the lads as they began to get themselves back into the game. Routledge played Dawkins in on 63 minutes but after riding one challenge was denied a shot by Davenport and moments later a Routledge set-piece found Dawkins again but his header was held by Wright.
Both sides made further changes on 65 minutes when Junior Stanislas made way for Zavon Hines for Kevin Keen’s men, while Clive brought on Takura Mtandari for Troy Archibald-Henville.
The 69th minute saw Boa Morte causing problems once more with a free-kick which sailed just over after clipping the wall, while Hines came close to making a rapid impact from the bench when he weaved into the box from the right flank and fired a shot at Forecast’s near post, which the goalkeeper turned round the post with his left foot. Jack Jeffrey also had a chance for the Hammers putting a looping header onto the roof of the net from ten yards out.
An equaliser almost came eight minutes from time in similar circumstances to Dimitar Berbatov’s equalising free-kick between the Club’s first-teams last season. Routledge had a crack from the opposite side of the box, but Davenport was on the line to head clear with Wright well beaten.
A final chance went begging for West Ham in stoppage time when Hines dragged a shot wide from just ten yards out before the referee’s final whistle brought an end to proceedings.