Peterborough United 0-2 West Ham United
Craig Bellamy was on target twice as West Ham United won with a strong performance at Peterborough tonight.
The striker showed his growing sharpness by grabbing his second brace of the pre-season so far. He put West Ham United into the lead at London Road after just three minutes and then followed it up with a second just before half-time. The match marked the debut in West Ham United colours for new signing Valon Behrami who put in a strong performance at right-back in a defence which saw Matthew Upson in his second game in three days, partnering Anton Ferdinand in the centre. Captain Lucas Neill switched to left -back.
West Ham United got off to a perfect start, when Bellamy picked up on a good ball from Scott Parker. He made a good run before rounding Posh keeper Joe Lewis and sliding the ball into the back of the net. Julien Faubert was linking up well in a bustling midfield alongside Parker, Mark Noble and Kyel Reid, while Behrami was not afraid to get into the mix with a number of tackles to win the ball.
Peterborough had chances and tested visiting keeper Robert Green in the first half, but the robust Green was in no mood to let the home side in, as he made a one-handed save to deny an acrobatic shot by Aaron Mclean and a finger-tip save to deny Peterborough on the half-hour mark. Craig Mackail-Smith and Posh captain Craig Morgan then had near chances before West Ham United went further ahead.
The goal came in the 42nd minute in a move started at the back by Neill who sent over a good ball which was met perfectly by the forward-running Bellamy. The Welsh international simply lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net. There were no changes at the start of the second half for Alan Curbishley's men and it was an equally good start as Behrami and Noble tried shots which went wide.
Peterborough were in determined mood still and were trying to force West Ham United back as much as possible - getting into the box and sending the ball just wide, with McLean and Mackail-Smith testing the defence. Behrami was replaced on 66 minutes - to rapturous applause from the visiting fans who he acknowledged by clapping his hands in their direction - by Joe Widdowson who was making his first appearance since returning home from the successful tour of the US and Canada.
Peterborough came within an inch of grabbing something only for George Boyd's shot to hit the post and come bouncing back out. Curbishley made a double substitution on 69 minutes with Green replaced by young goalkeeper Marek Stech and Bellamy making way for Freddie Sears. Alfie Potter gave Stech his first real test on 74 minutes but the upcoming keeper got down well to save.
At the other end, Sears ran on to a ball on the right-hand side sending a good cross over only for it to sail just wide. Junior Stanislas came on for Reid on 82 minutes followed by Jack Collison who replace Anton Ferdinand minutes later. Sears again tested the home defence with a swinging shot that went wide of the post. It proved to be another good work-out for Curbishley's men who finished the game as strongly as they had started.
Peterborough United: Joe Lewis, Russell Martin, Shane Blackett, Craig Morgan, (capt), Charlie Lee, Aaron McLean, George Boyd, Dean Keates, Craig Mackail-Smith, Chris Whelpdale, Tom Williams.
Subs: Chris Westwood, Scott Rendell, Micah Hyde, James McKeown, Kieran Charnock, Alfie Potter, Paul Coutts, Shaun Batt.
West Ham United: Robert Green, Lucas Neill (Capt), Anton Ferdinand, Matthew Upson, Valon Behrami, Scott Parker, Julien Faubert, Craig Bellamy, Kyel Reid, Carlton Cole, Mark Noble.
Subs: Marek Stech, Joe Widdowson, Calum Davenport, Tony Stokes, Jack Collison, Hayden Mullins, Junior Stanislas, Freddie Sears.