West Ham United reserves v Portsmouth reserves
Barclays Premier Reserve League South
Wednesday 20 January 2010
Woodside Park, Bishop's Stortford FC
Final score - West Ham United reserves 1-1 Portsmouth reserves
93 mins - The game is over. A point for Alex Dyer's side, who will return to action with a home fixture against Chelsea on Tuesday 23 February. Just a reminder that the U18s travel to Chelsea on Saturday morning. With the first team not in action, supporters can travel to the Blues' training ground to watch the fixture, with kick-off at 11am. A point lifts the reserves above Birmingham City into sixth in the table, while Portsmouth have closed the gap on second-placed Arsenal to three points with a game in-hand still to play. That's all from Woodside Park tonight, but keep a close eye on whufc.com for Alex Dyer's exclusive reaction to Wednesday's game.
91 mins - We're going to have at least two added minutes for West Ham to find a winning goal. Pompey look like they have settled for a draw. So close from Olly Lee, who got the ball on to his right foot before testing O'Brien. The goalkeeper had to be at his best to turn that ball around the post. From the resulting corner, Da Costa rises high, but the Portsmouth defence holds firm.
90 mins - West Ham are in the ascendancy as the game enters its final minute. Kearns wins another corner. He takes the kick himself, and again Pompey head clear. West Ham pick up possession again, and Edgar shoots into the side-netting.
88 mins - Ferrari gets forward again and wins a corner. Kearns's delivery to the near post is easily headed clear.
86 mins - That was probably West Ham's chance to win the game. Sears got free down the left, latching on to Edgar's pass before crossing towards the unmarked Lee. The midfielder arrived late, but could only plant his header firmly into the midriff of O'Brien. Either side of him and it would have been a goal. Pompey break quickly and Ritchie forces Kurucz into a save low down.
85 mins - Good from Ferrari again as he beats two men to get deep inside the Portsmouth penalty area, only for his cross towards Subuola to be cleared.
83 mins - West Ham make their second substitution, with Spence being replaced by Tony Brookes.
81 mins - Pompey make their third and final change. No16 Carl Walshe is on for No4 Billy Goddard. Walshe will play up front.
80 mins - Nlundulu again. This time, Spence had vacated his right-back berth to go on the attack before West Ham lost possession. Nlundulu again cut on to his left foot before forcing a smart low save from Kurucz.
76 mins - Sowah has recovered from his knock and scampers down the left before finding Nlundulu. The goalscorer cuts inside on to his left foot and shoots, but it slices well wide of the far post. It actually seems to be getting warmer here, either that or my hands are getting used to the cold!
74 mins - Good run from Spence down the right, but his cross is just too high for Sears to get his head to. Portsmouth break, but Daprela does well to snuff out the danger.
69 mins - Very close to a second goal for West Ham. Sears latches on to a pass from Subuola before appearing to lose possession inside the penalty area. He pokes the ball out to Kearns, though, but the winger can only shoot over under pressure from the sliding Sowah. The left-back appears to be injured in making his tackle and needs some attention.
68 mins - Nadir Ciftci and Ellis Martin are on for Subotic and Williamson.
67 mins - Portsmouth are going to make some changes here. They've only named three substitutes, and it looks like two of them are going to be in action soon.
66 mins - A second booking for a Hammers player. Edgar loses possession and, seconds later, brings down Matt Ritchie near the corner flag. He is then shown a yellow card for his troubles. Bopp crosses and Kurucz gets up well to punch the ball well clear of the danger area.
65 mins - West Ham win another corner. Edgar takes it in Stanislas's absence, but Daprela can only head his dipping delivery over the crossbar.
64 mins - It's all got a bit lively out there, with some challenges flying in from both sets of players. West Ham make their first change, bringing on U18 forward Danny Subuola for Stanislas.
60 mins - West Ham have really upped their game here. First, Kearns tests O'Brien with a well-struck shot, then Stanislas launches a low drive inches wide from about 25 yards out. They look the favourites to nick a winner, do Alex Dyer's team.
59 mins - The general concensus is that Spence DID score that goal! If he did, his reaction was very understated, indeed.
58 mins - GOAL! The ball is whipped in by Stanislas and appears to hit Portsmouth defender Ryan before flying into the top corner. There is some confusion over the identity of the scorer, as no West Ham player seems to celebrate. The stadium announcer gives the goal to Spence, who raises his arm in reaction. I don't think it was the Hammer who got the decisive touch, though.
58 mins - Sears wins a corner down the right flank. No sign of any changes for either side just yet.
55 mins - Portsmouth come within a lick of paint of doubling their advantage. Subotic robs Da Costa before beating the Portugal defender and Spence and cutting the ball into the six-yard box where Daprela controls and appears to kick the ball against his own post before Kurucz pounces on it.
54 mins - West Ham have been better since the interval. Their passing and movement have been much more incisive and it is paying dividends. Sears goes close, clipping a cross over the head of the scrambling O'Brien, only for the ball to float wide of the far post.
50 mins - That would have been a truly outstanding goal from Ferrari, who literally carried the ball 40 yards into the Portsmouth penalty area before seeing his shot blocked by O'Brien. The Italian is a threat going forward, with two good feet and the ability to beat his man, as was illustrated there.
48 mins - Subotic has good feet for a big man, and forces Da Costa into conceding a corner. Bopp curls the ball in and Da Costa heads clear.
47 mins - It was the same at the Boleyn Ground last night, when the likes of Stanislas, Frank Nouble, Mark Noble and James Tomkins all watched Tony Carr's U18s reach the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup. A date for their home tie against Newcastle United has yet to be set. Keep an eye on whufc.com for details.
46 mins - Zavon Hines is among the few brave souls who have turned out to support the reserves this evening. Good work, sir. He is wrapped up warm against the cold. Sensible lad.
No changes from either manager at the break. Portsmouth will get us back underway.
Half-time score - West Ham United reserves 0-1 Portsmouth reserves
46 mins - So close to a second for Portsmouth as Subotic dances around Kurucz, only to see his shot miraculously deflected behind for a corner. The flag-kick is cleared and, soon after, the half-time whistle is blown. Join us again for the second half in around 15 minutes.
45 mins - Edgar finds Stanislas rampaging through the middle, only for the winger to be flagged for offside. It would not have mattered, as Stanislas screws his shot out of the stadium. We're going to have one minute of added time.
43 mins - Payne starts a move deep inside his own half before spreading the play wide to Kearns. He finds Spence, who curls in a cross from deep, but O'Brien is there to claim the high ball ahead of Sears.
41 mins - GOAL! Absolutely out of nowhere, Portsmouth take the lead through Nlundulu. The midfielder took the ball and got free of Da Costa before slotting past Kurucz from just inside the penalty area. Edgar is shown the yellow card before the Hammers re-start the game, presumably for dissent.
37 mins - Thomas Kilbey strides forward through the midfield for the away team, only to slice his left-foot shot well wide from 25 yards.
36 mins - Payne wins the ball well in midfield and tries to lift a clever pass over the top for Stanislas - who has swapped flanks with Edgar, incidentally - but it is cut out. Seconds later, Payne shoots from long range and the ball takes a nick off Sears, only to roll into the arms of O'Brien.
33 mins - A chance for Portsmouth in the shape of a free-kick just outside the penalty area. Referee McLaughlin tried to play an advantage when Lennard Sowah was fouled, but brought play back when none resulted. From the set piece, Billy Goddard got his head to the ball for the visitors, but could only send the ball looping gently into the hands of Kurucz.
31 mins - West Ham's centre-backs have enjoyed a fairly comfortable evening so far, as most of Pompey's attacking play has come down the flanks.
28 mins - Both sides are really cancelling each other out here. If West Ham are to break the deadlock, Edgar looks the likeliest creator.
24 mins - It really is eerily quiet here at the moment, with only the sound of plans arriving at nearby Stansted Airport breaking the silence. To use a well-worn cliche, this game needs a goal. Badly.
21 mins - Good patient build-up play from the home side sees them work the ball from one side of the pitch to the other before winning a throw-in deep in Portsmouth territory. West Ham keep the pressure on and Ferrari looks to have got in behind the defence, only to be denied by the assistant referee's flag for offside.
19 mins - Aside from that flurry of shots early on, we have not seen much goalmouth action to warm us up here. Just as I type, Edgar curls in a dipping shot from 20 yards straight at O'Brien.
15 mins - Edgar wins a free-kick five yards outside the Pompey penalty area wide on the right. Stanislas lifts the ball in but it is too close to O'Brien.
12 mins - Sears looks really lively up front. The forward is running the channels well and looking to latch on to any through balls that are sent his way. Sears was all smiles after notching two penalties against Arsenal last week, on what was his first reserve-team appearance of the season.
11 mins - First-team coach Steve Clarke, Academy Director Tony Carr and goalkeeper coach Ludek Miklosko are all here to watch the game. A number of the players on view will be hoping to be involved when the Hammers travel to Fratton Park to take on the same opposition in the Barclays Premier League in six days' time.
8 mins - A long punt forward is mis-controlled by Da Costa as he attempts to help it back to Kurucz. The goalkeeper rushes out smartly to smash the ball upfield.
7 mins - It's all happening here. Ferrari gives the ball away deep in West Ham territory and it is fed to the towering Daniel Subotic. The big striker gets the ball on to his left foot and forces Kurucz into a diving save.
5 mins - Oooh! Close to the opening goal for Sears, who worked himself a shooting chance and stung O'Brien's palms with a well-struck shot that the goalkeeper could only help over the top. From the resulting Stanislas corner, Daprela heads powerfully over from six yards.
3 mins - Gael Nlundulu works a bit of space inside the penalty area, but his shot is weak and an easy catch for Kurucz.
2 mins - The home side have possession in the early stages, with Stanislas spreading play wide right to Edgar. He finds Ferrari, whose low cross hits Perry Ryan and loops into the arms of goalkeeper Liam O'Brien.
7pm - We're off and running here at Woodside Park as West Ham kick-off...
6.57pm - Here come the two sides. Portsmouth are in white shirts, blue shirts and blue socks. West Ham are sporting claret shirts, white shorts and claret socks.
6.55pm - Both teams are back in their respective dressing rooms here at Woodside Park, with kick-off rapidly approaching. Following last night's FA Youth Cup victory over Queens Park Rangers, West Ham are looking for a second win in the space of 24 hours.
Good evening and welcome to a chilly Woodside Park, Bishop's Stortford, for what should be an exciting Barclays Premier Reserve League South fixture. Tonight's game will see West Ham United go for their first victory of 2010 against an inexperienced Portsmouth.
While Alex Dyer has named seven players with Barclays Premier League playing time under their belts in his starting XI, Pompey boss Guy Whittingham has a team without a single first-team appearance for the south coast club between them.
The Hammers have Hungary Under-21 goalkeeper Peter Kurucz between the sticks, with a multi-national back-four of former England U19 captain Jordan Spence, Portugal U23 Manuel da Costa, Switzerland U19 and Italian Davide Ferrari at left-back.
Northern Ireland U17 winger Daniel Kearns is joined by first-year professional Olly Lee and Josh Payne in midfield, with the lively Junior Stanislas and Anthony Edgar supporting striker Freddie Sears up front. Sears will be looking to carry on where he left off eight days ago, when he scored twice in a 4-2 reserve-team defeat by Arsenal at the Boleyn Ground.
For Portsmouth, Frenchman Gael Nlundulu scored in the reverse fixture in September, which ended in a 3-0 win for Whittingham's men. Centre-back Mike Williamson joined the club from Watford last summer.
Seventh-placed West Ham can close the gap on third-placed Portsmouth to a single point with victory on a chilly evening on the Essex/Herts border.
West Ham United reserves: Kurucz, Spence (Brookes 83), Da Costa, Daprela, Ferrari, Kearns, Lee, Payne, Edgar, Stanislas (Subuola 64), Sears
Subs: Mehmet, McNaughton, Purdy
Portsmouth reserves: O'Brien, Gregory, Ryan, Williamson (Martin 68), Sowah, Bopp, Kilbey, Goddard (Walshe 81), Nlundulu, Subotic (Ciftci 68) Ritchie
Unused subs: None