Wolvehampton Wanderers reserves v West Ham United reserves
Barclays Premier Reserve League South
New Bucks Head, AFC Telford United
Tuesday 13 April 2010
Final score - Wolverhampton Wanderers reserves 4-1 West Ham United reserves
Don't forget to keep a close eye on WHUTV for exclusive post-match reaction from tonight's game. While West Ham United may have lost, the young players will have enjoyed the experience of taking on what was essentially a Premier League side. For an hour, they competed brilliantly well. Earlier, Luis Boa Morte had played for the first time in more than eight months, and will be delighted to have come through 45 minutes following his long-term knee injury.
92 mins - Into the final minute and Hennessey has a free-kick inside the Wolves half. Well done to McNaughton as, in the final seconds, he shepherds Mendez-Laing wide before sliding in and winning the ball from the substitute. That is Wolves' final home game and, following the final whistle, the PA man thanks the club for holding their reserve-team fixtures here in Telford. Good man.
91 mins - We're going to have at least two more minutes... Good news elsewhere, as Chelsea are 1-0 up against Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League. Bolton are just a point above the Hammers in the table.
90 mins - West Ham are ending the game on the front foot, and good on them. They have largely competed well against a vastly more-experienced home side. They are going to lose, but they are going to lose with their heads held high.
88 mins - The attendance is announced as 404. A few of them let out an 'Ooooh' as Montano flashes a shot across goal and wide from the edge of the box.
87 mins - Halford has a Delap-esque long throw. He uses it to good effect to hurl the ball into the six-yard box, only for Mendez-Laing to sit on the ball instead of putting it into the net. It pops out and Kurucz claims it. Moments later, Wolves attack again, but Milijas shoots straight at Kurucz from 20 yards.
86 mins - Unlucky. McNaughton slams the ball over the Wolves defence for Montano to chase, but it is just too strong and Hennessey nips in to clear ahead of the striker.
85 mins - Mendez-Laing shows a clean pair of heels to Sanchez before stabbing the ball across the goalmouth. It flies out to Halford, who feeds Milijas, who curls the ball into the empty Frank Naughton Stand.
84 mins - You can still hear Alex Dyer barking out his orders from the dugout on the far side of the pitch. With ten men and Wolves three goals to the good, we could do with the final few minutes ticking by rather quickly, really.
83 mins - West Ham's task is made harder as Brown is forced off with an injury. He's not going to be able to continue and hobbles around the pitch to the bench. Driver comes across to left-back, with Sanchez going to right-back in a flat back-four.
81 mins - Dave Davis brings down Wearen after the Irish youngster had intercepted his pass.
78 mins - I don't know what you would put the scoreline down to, really, other than the fact that Wolves have obviously scored four goals. They haven't outplayed West Ham at all, but simply taken their chances when they have come along. Edgar tries to get one back, beating Dunleavy for pace before crossing low, but Stearman is there to hack the ball clear ahead of Montano.
76 mins - GOAL! Oh dear. Halford curls the ball into the box again and Stearman is able to stab it over the line from close-range.
75 mins - Wearen is on, wearing the No16 shirt. The poor PA man is confused. He announces the arrival of Barrett in place of Dixon.
73 mins - Guedioura is off, replaced by the fantastically-named Dave Davis.
72 mins - The scoreline is a bit cruel on West Ham, but it's important that they don't feel sorry for themselves. The first hour of tonight's game was superb. As I type, Milijas gets free inside the box and flashes a shot narrowly wide of the far post.
70 mins - GOAL! Mendez-Laing is fouled about 30 yards out. Halford curls in a free-kick that eludes everyone, Sanchez misses the ball and it bounces past Kurucz and inside the far post.
69 mins - Guedioura is back on.
68 mins - Double-change from Wolves. John Dunleavy and Nat Mendez-Laing are on for Castillo and Ebanks-Blake.
67 mins - The Wolves fans get a bit excited as McNaughton and Guedioura clash, leaving the midfielder in a heap. The ball is knocked out of play by a Wolves player before Payne knocks it back to the referee, but only manages to hit Milijas on the head! I would suspect Guedioura will be fine to continue in a few moments.
66 mins - Frustration from Driver there, who sees his run into the penalty area stopped by a challenge. He then gets back and fouls Ward by the touchline.
65 mins - GOAL! That's a real shame. Ward cuts inside from the left wing and beats one player before rifling a low, right-foot shot past Kurucz and into the bottom right-hand corner from about 22 yards. Good finish.
63 mins - The home fans are getting a bit frustrated, but they have something to get excited about as Ebanks-Blake shoots low across the face of goal. Goal kick.
61 mins - A second change for the Hammers sees Lee replaced by Nicky Barrett. The PA operator says it's Eoin Wearen, but it isn't, I can assure you of that. Well, not unless Wearen's hair has changed colour since he got off the team coach.
60 mins - Stearman joins Edgar in the book after blocking off Dixon. Driver's free-kick is long and finds Brown on the left flank. He gets to the by-line and cuts the ball all the way to the far post, where Driver hits it flush on the volley, only to see his effort blocked by Ward.
58 mins - Well done Sanchez, this time at the defensive end. The young Spaniard does superbly well to twice block shots from Ebanks-Blake. Seconds later, Milijas shoots from long-range and Kurucz clutches the ball to his chest.
56 mins - Is it too early to start counting down the minutes? Only 34 to go and West Ham are holding firm. They have been, arguably, the better side. Wolves have had a few chances, but the Hammers have passed the ball easily as well as their more-experienced hosts.
53 mins - Controversy! A long ball hits McNaughton on the arm. The assistant referee flags for a Wolves free-kick, but instead the referee awards a West Ham free-kick, judging that the defender had been pushed by Keogh.
52 mins - Milijas shows his cannon of a left foot, getting past his marker before shooting from 25 yards. I reckon Kurucz would have saved it, but it only just cleard the bar.
51 mins - Spence was injured making that clearance and has the physio on, so we have a short break in play. When we restart, a cross bounces to Brown at the far post. He shoots from 20 yards, but it's just too close to Hennessey, who holds on at the second attempt.
49 min - Edgar has been on the pitch less than four minutes but he's now been booked for bringing down Halford down the Wolves right. Milijas curls the ball in and Spence clears to Dixon, who finds Payne. He tries a difficult pass to release Montano, but it is intercepted.
47 mins - West Ham's team, without Boa Morte, are now giving up exactly 1,900 games of league experience to their opponents. Only Spence, Payne and Kurucz have played senior football. They're doing well, though. Driver drills a free-kick into the penalty area, where McNaughton volleys goalwards, but Hennessey has time to dive on the loose ball.
46 mins - We're back underway... Wolves go on the attack, but Brown snuffs it out and wins a throw.
West Ham make a half-time change, with Boa Morte being replaced by Anthony Edgar.
Right, I've done a bit of maths. The Wolves team tonight have played a total of 1,957 senior league matches and 104 full internationals.
Half-time score - Wolverhampton Wanderers reserves 1-1 West Ham United reserves
46 mins - We're going to have at least one added minute. Guedioura brings proceedings to a close by smashing a shot that is closer to the David Hutchinson Stand sign on the roof than it is to the goal. And I reckon the David Hutchinson Stand is at least 12 metres tall.
44 mins - Vokes misses another great chance to put Wolves back in front. Milijas's pass is deflected over Spence and the Wales striker has all day to pick his spot from 12 yards, only to lob the ball over the top.
42 mins - GOAL! Sergio Sanchez! Boa Morte's corner is cleared at the near post. Driver lofts the ball back in and Sanchez heads it past Hennessey and against the base of the right-hand post before stooping to head the rebound in from about five yards.
41 mins - Boa dummies and steps over the ball. Payne strikes it and it hits the ball and goes behind.
40 mins - Another set-piece chance for Boa Morte. Lee shoots and is challenged by Stearman. The midfielder needs the physio on. Payne and Boa have a chat as the latter places the ball on the turf about 23 yards from goal in a central position.
38 mins - The free-kick is played to Dixon inside the penalty area. He lays the ball wide right to Lee, whose cross is headed behind by Ward. Boa Morte's corner is claimed high above his head by Hennessey.
37 mins - It's all West Ham at present. Montano slides an intelligent ball through for Boa Morte. He tries to cut inside Stearman, but the England Under-21 defender intercepts. A short time later, Boa is at it again, winning a free-kick 40 yards from goal from Milijas.
36 mins - Callum Driver is really coming on leaps and bounds. The wing-back gets forward and cuts inside. Lee makes a clever decoy run to open up the space inside and Driver makes another five yards before shooting low and narrowly wide of the post with his less-favoured left foot.
34 mins - I know the 'West Ham way' is to play out from the back, but that is ridiculous. Kurucz and Spence both employ a drag-back to beat Keogh. The crowd ooooh and aaaah, but West Ham clear through Driver.
32 mins - Dixon should score. Brown crosses to the near post where Dixon loses Castillo, but can only head powerfully wide. He is left with his head in his hands.
30 mins - Wolves break up the other end and Lee makes a good block to deny Milijas on the edge of the penalty area. Wolves win a throw down the left and Kurucz comes and doesn't get there, but thankfully the ball bounces outside the penalty area and is cleared.
29 mins - West Ham's youngsters are growing in confidence. Montano runs at Stearman before spreading play wide left to Brown. He cuts the ball back to Payne, who takes a touch before testing Hennessey with a bouncing effort from 25 yards. Good handling by the goalkeeper.
28 mins - That would have been a fairytale! Boa Morte completely mis-hits his free-kick, but it goes UNDER the wall and about a yard wide of the near post. Hennessey was just standing there watching... Montano is back on.
26 mins - Driver's curling through ball is touched on by Montano, who goes down under a challenge from Castillo and is left clutching his face. West Ham have a free-kick about three yards outside the penalty area. Boa Morte stands over it, but first Montano is receiving some treatment.
24 mins - Well done Josh Payne. He wins a crunching tackle in midfield before swapping passes with Montano and finding Dixon. The forward's pass is blocked back into Payne's path, and he beats a player before seeing his shot blocked by Stearman. Driver picks up the clearance, but his cross flies over the crossbar.
22 mins - Big chance for Vokes, but his touch lets him down. He had sprung the offside trap there and should really have controlled Guedioura's through ball. If he had, he was in acres of space inside the penalty area. As it is, the ball goes harmlessly behind for a goal kick.
20 mins - Jordan Brown does well down the left, cutting inside his marker before trying to find Montano inside the penalty area. Unfortunately, the Colombian-born forward is offside.
18 mins - I should say that Alex Dyer has again chosen to go with a 3-5-2 formation tonight, with Boa Morte forming part of the central-midfield three.
17 mins - West Ham have settled down now and, aside from Vokes' early strike, Kurucz has not been tested. The challenge will be to find a way past the experienced Wolves defence.
15 mins - Boa is clearly in the mood to get back in the swing of things, sliding in on Guedioura and challenging the rotund Ebanks-Blake in the midfield.
13 mins - Boa Morte to the fore, finding Lee with a superb 40-yard pass. He then collects the ball from Brown before skipping around a challenge and going down on the edge of the D. He claps his hands together in frustration as the referee waves away his appeal for a free-kick.
11 mins - Great chance for Guedioura as he latches on to Vokes' knock-down, but he can only lob the ball wide with just Kurucz to beat.
10 mins - Comedy of errors there. Stearman flicks on Kurucz's goal kick to Dixon, who knocks it past Stearman. Hennessey plunges on the ball, but it squirms out from under his body. Unfortunately no West Ham player is able to take advantage and the Wales goalkeeper is able to grab it. Seconds later, Boa Morte wins a free-kick out on the left, but he gets up unscathed.
9 mins - Ebanks-Blake ploughs forward down the right and wins a corner. Spence clears at the near post before Guedioura's pass goes out for a goal kick.
7 mins - Spence is standing up well to the challenge so far, winning a couple of commanding headers and making a pair of important interceptions. West Ham break and win a throw. Driver's throw-in eludes Stearman and falls to Montano, who tries to pick out Boa Morte with a low cross. Instead the ball goes behind the Portuguese and Wolves clear. Better.
6 mins - Guedioura gets down the left and combines with Vokes, but his cross is sliced behind for a goal kick.
5 mins - West Ham's youngsters need to re-group and find their feet. They've played very well in recent weeks and just need to use that belief and stay in the game early on. Guedioura fouls Driver as the wing-back jumps to head clear.
4 mins - GOAL! That's not the ideal start. The corner is not cleared and drops to Sam Vokes, who guides a right-foot volley into the roof of the net from six yards.
3 mins - Boa still hasn't touched it yet, but he's jogging around happily enough. Jordan Brown challenges Greg Halford and concedes a right-wing corner.
1 min - We had a bit of 'Hi-ho Wolverhampton' before kick-off. A cracking tune if you ask me. Callum Driver announces his arrival to Stephen Ward with a crunching challenge. Good start young man.
7pm - Wolves will get us underway...
6.59pm - Here are the two teams. A very decent-sized crowd has turned out to cheer on their respective teams. Boa Morte is sporting some nice white boots for his return. He goes around and shakes hands with his young team-mates one by one. He is a popular figure at Chadwell Heath, is the midfielder, and it is great to see him back.
6.57pm - The locals reckon it is going to rain! It's clouded over a bit, so maybe they are going to be proved correct. It is eight months and two weeks since Luis Boa Morte suffered his knee injury in China, I am reliably informed by Pete Walker, the team coach driver.
6.56pm - Goodness knows why, but they're playing the tune they play at Stamford Bridge before kick-off...
6.55pm - Both sets of players have returned to their dressing rooms for last-minute preparations. I can tell you that Alex Dyer's youngsters are relishing the chance to test themselves against a Wolves team full of seasoned professionals. A week after shackling James Beattie, Callum McNaughton is itching to get to grips with Wales international Sam Vokes and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, the top scorer in the Championship in each of the last two seasons. Make no mistake, this will be a huge challenge for the mixture of Academy youngsters and first-year professionals. Luis Boa Morte has been through his own special warm up and will be expected to lead the side through the game alongside captain Jordan Spence. It will also be a big night for goalkeeper Peter Kurucz, but the whole squad were in relaxed and confident mood before arriving here in Shropshire.
6.50pm - Hello! Sorry for the delay, but I've had a few technical issues getting on to the internet here at the New Bucks Head. It's got a bit cold over the last hour or so, and is likely to get even chillier when the sun goes down. The home of AFC Telford is a neat, modern stadium is seven-years-old and very smart, I must say. The stadium is equipped with a hotel, brasserie and gymnasium. Not bad for a Blue Square North club!
Good evening from Shropshire.
Luis Boa Morte is set to make his eagerly-awaited return from injury in tonight's Barclays Premier Reserve League South meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the New Bucks Head in Telford.
The Portugal midfielder is due to be back in competitive action for the first time since a serious knee injury - including anterior cruciate ligament damage - in the Barclays Asia Trophy meeting with Tottenham Hotspur in Beijing, China, on 29 July last year.
Boa Morte could form part of a three-man midfield alongside Olly Lee and Josh Payne. At the back, the only change from last week's goalless draw at Stoke City sees Jordan Brown replace Davide Ferrari, whose loan spell from Brescia Calcio has ended. Up front, Academy scholar Cristian Montano will again partner Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Terry Dixon.
Wolves have named one of the strongest reserve sides I've ever seen, with all eleven players having started in the Barclays Premier League this season. Seven of the home team are full internationals, and six of them started for Wolves in the Premier League meeting with West Ham at Molineux on 15 August.
West Ham United reserves: Kurucz, Driver, Sanchez, Spence, McNaughton, Brown, Lee (Barrett 61), Payne, Boa Morte (Edgar 46), Montano, Dixon (Wearen 75)
Subs: Cowler, Abdulla
Wolverhampton Wanderers reserves: Hennessey, Halford, Stearman, Castillo (Dunleavy 68), Ward, Keogh, Guedioura (Davis 72), Milijas, Surman, Ebanks-Blake (Mendez-Laing 68), Vokes
Subs: McCarey, Bennett