MK Dons v West Ham United
Wednesday 28 July 2010
MK Dons 0-2 West Ham United
Julien Faubert and Carlton Cole were on target with second-half goals as West Ham United made it four wins from four pre-season friendly matches with a 2-0 victory at MK Dons.
The League One side presented a stern test for Avram Grant's side, but the Hammers' Barclays Premier League class showed through in the end, particularly after manager Grant had sent on seven substitutes just past the hour-mark.
Germany U21 forward Anis Ben-Hatira and Argentine Milton Caraglio were given a chance to impress in a claret and blue shirt, while German Stefan Wessels produced a confident second-half display after replacing the returning Robert Green at half-time.
Green himself was at his assured best before the break, while captain Matthew Upson and Jonathan Spector both looked good on their first appearances since the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
It was Cole who was the star turn, however, feeding Faubert with a low cross before scoring a superb individual goal to make the game safe five minutes from full-time.
West Ham will return to pre-season action at Championship challengers Ipswich Town on Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.
Full-time score - MK Dons 0-2 West Ham United
90 mins - In some ways it is fitting that MK Dons finish with a corner, considering the number they've had tonight! Tomkins slices Chicksen's cross behind. Guy crosses and the ball is headed out of the box by a West Ham head. Howell crosses again and Tomkins heads clear before Faubert concedes another corner! Guy crosses and Lewington can't get his header on target. The ball is picked up by an MK Dons player, who drags his shot well wide of the near post. With that, referee Dean Whitestone blows for full-time.
88 mins - As we approach the closing stages it's time to take stock. The first half was a little disjointed, but that is to be expected when two new outfield players are in the side and many of the players have just returned from their summer break. The second half, especially after the substitutions, has been better and the football more fluent. Cole has caught the eye with a goal and an assist, while Tomkins has shown his versality again. Both have looked superb in pre-season. With two friendly matches remaining, manager Avram Grant and his new assistant and coaching staff know there is more work to be done, but this makes it four wins from four outings.
85 mins - GOAL! The attendance has been announced as 12,230 and the away fans among them will be absolutely loving that. Cole bursts down the right and powers his way into the box past two defenders before finishing into the bottom right-hand corner across Gueret.
83 mins - Cole forces a corner. Noble takes but Da Costa can't control his header and it flies behind for a goal kick. ANOTHER change for MK Dons - Leven is replaced by Luke Howell.
81 mins - On-loan QPR man Balanta strides forward before curling a shot over the top from 20 yards. Noble got back in there and put pressure on the South American and maybe did just enough to put him off. Another change - Gleeson is off and Tom Flanagan is on.
79 mins - Good play from West Ham. Spector races on to a fine ball from Boa Morte before cutting a dangerous cross back, but Lewington is there to clear for a corner. The ball is worked to Hitzlsperger, but 'Der Hammer' can only find the stand behind the goal.
78 mins - Petrovic is out again on the edge of the technical area. First impressions suggest he will be a hands-on style assistant manager. MK Dons make another change, with Easter being replaced by Mark Carrington.
76 mins - MK Dons should equalise. A corner is worked short to Gleeson, whose cross is met by Woodards six yards out. Instead of hitting the back of the net, his header clears the bar and lands in the home fans behind the goal.
75 mins - Boa Morte is really putting himself about out there. He absolutely loves a tackle, and shows it by sliding in hard but fair on an MK Dons midfielder. Get in there, Boa!
73 mins - Left-back Woodards tries to cross from deep but it turns into a shot. Wessels is safely behind it though and clutches the ball to his chest.
72 mins - Former Leyton Orient man Jabo Ibehre is on for Baldock.
70 mins - GOAL! Here we go! Cole delays and delays and picks the perfect moment to cross low into the six-yard box where Faubert nips in from his position on the right of the front three to poke the ball past Gueret from close range.
67 mins - Guy is on for Chadwick. MK Dons have a left-wing corner. Woodards wins the header but West Ham are able to clear and counter-attack. Hitzlsperger finds Noble who attempts to find McCarthy on the edge of the penalty area, but the South African is crowded out.
66 mins - Da Costa loses possession and Baldock beats Faubert before being stopped in his tracks by a very solid challenge from Spector.
64 mins - OK, Ilunga, Noble, Hitzlsperger, Faubert, Boa Morte, Cole and McCarthy are on. Daprela, Kovac, Parker, Diamanti, Ben-Hatira, Stanislas and Caraglio have gone off.
63 mins - I've heard of a triple subsitution, but West Ham are about to make SEVEN changes! Diamanti crosses and the ball lands on the top of the net. Time for the fourth official to earn his crust in a big way...!
62 mins - The two new boys have done well since the break. It was always going to take them time to settle in and both have been heavily involved in the play since half-time. Caraglio nearly shows why by latching on to Stanislas's deflected cross, but Gueret is out smartly to catch in front of the Argentine.
61 mins - MK Dons make a third change, with Adam Chicksen - great name! - on for O'Hanlon.
60 mins - The octuplets are heading back to the bench. We could see some wholesale changes soon.
58 mins - Spector concedes another corner for MK Dons. This is real end to end stuff. The corner finds Wilbraham in acres of space at the far post, but his header is a poor one and nothing comes from it as Diamanti is fouled on the edge of the penalty area.
57 mins - Parker again and this time he is brought down about 35 yards out. Diamanti wants to shoot... Er, I think the best way of summing that up is that Jonny Wilkinson would have been proud of that effort. It sailed over the bar...
56 mins - Things are really livening up here. Leven lifts a corner to the back post where O'Hanlan rises and heads the ball powerfully, but it floats harmlessly wide.
55 mins - Ben-Hatira is certainly getting his money's worth tonight. Daprela breaks up an MK Dons attack and feeds Parker, who swaps passes with the German and romps forward. His pass falls to Stanislas, who plays in Ben-Hatira, but the Berlin-born player can only lift his shot over the advancing Gueret and wide of the far post. Great chance.
54 mins - Better from Diamanti, who picks up the loose ball and beats his man twice before curling a shot narrowly wide of the far post with his trusty left foot. That had Gueret scrambling and the crowd 'Ooohing' as it flew just past the upright.
52 mins - Chadwick gets free down the right and shows some class by lifting a superb cross towards the far post. There, Tomkins is out-numbered two to one, allowing Balanta to rise highest and head goalwards. Wessels flings himself into the air, but thankfully the ball flies a yard over the top.
51 mins - A gaggle of West Ham substitutes are out warming up. For some reason, everyone has got a grey tracksuit top on other than Hitzlsperger, who is sporting the yellow number. There are eight of them doing various exercises. Back on the pitch, Caraglio and Diamanti combine again, but the Italian's cross is too high and gathered by Gueret.
49 mins - Parker brings out his favourite turn. Ah, I've missed that over the summer. Scotty has got an uncanny ability to get himself out of tight situations while retaining possession for his side. Caraglio almost benefits, finding Diamanti, but his cross is too high and the chance goes begging.
46 mins - MK Dons get us back underway. They've brought on Aaron Wilbraham and Danny Woodards for Hamann and Doumbe.
Three changes for West Ham - Jonathan Spector and Manuel da Costa are on for Matthew Upson and Danny Gabbidon at the back, with Stefan Wessels replacing Robert Green in goal. Tomkins has gone to centre-back alongside Da Costa, with Spector at right-back.
Half-time score - MK Dons 0-0 West Ham United
45 mins - Three seconds early, the referee blows for half-time. I would think manager Grant may make a few changes at the break, but we shall see...
41 mins - Parker lofts a superb ball over the top for Ben-Hatira, who has time to control and shoot. He chooses to hold the ball and pass instead and makes a bit of a mess of it. His square ball to Stanislas is too strong and forces the No7 wide. He wins a corner, but that should have been the opening goal. The corner finds an unmarked Kovac, but he heads a few yards over the crossbar.
40 mins - Manager Grant is out on the edge of the technical area to take a closer look at proceedings. I'm not sure what he'll make of this half, to be honest. Hardly anything of note has really happened!
37 mins - Not much in the way of goalmouth incident to report, I'm afraid. MK Dons pass the ball well and find Chadwick on the right, but Daprela does well to block his cross behind. The corner again comes to nothing. Caraglio brings the ball clear, but his pass is wayward and the chance to break is lost.
33 mins - Green comes out and kicks the ball clear as Baldock attempted to latch on to a long punt forward. Good, decisive goalkeeping from the No1, who gets another ironic cheer from the home fans.
27 mins - Green shows why he is an international goalkeeper. Easter lets fly with a drive from 25 yards that is arrowing towards the top corner before the stopper flies to his right to push the ball aside for a corner. The flag-kick comes to nothing.
24 mins - The two unfamiliar faces nearly combine to deadly effect. Upson gets in quickly to win possession before finding Caraglio. The South American delays his pass before releasing Ben-Hatira. The German tries to round Gueret but appears to lose his balance at the vital moment and his weak shot is easily cleared inside the six-yard box by the covering O'Hanlon.
22 mins - Easter has the chance to play in Chadwick after the former Manchester United man had lost Daprela, but his pass is way too strong and rolls behind.
21 mins - Easter gets the better of international teammate Gabbidon before crossing towards Baldock, but Upson is there to head the ball clear. Good defending, that. The ball is launched back into the penalty area and Green claims. The home fans are giving him a bit of a hard time after his travails with England at the World Cup, but that won't bother the Hammers No1 one little bit.
19 mins - A cross from the right from Chadwick finds Easter in space, but the big striker scuffs his shot and West Ham are able to clear. A slight let-off for the visitors there.
18 mins - A short stoppage in play for Leven to get some treatment gives new assistant manager Zeljko Petrovic to issue some instructions from the technical area. Despite being born in the former Yugoslavia and having played and managed in Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Japan and Croatia, Petrovic speaks good English.
16 mins - Audacious! A clearance from Gueret is headed powerfully forward by Gabbidon and when O'Hanlon mis-controls, Diamanti strikes the bouncing ball first time from 45 yards. It flies wide of the target, but the home goalkeeper was certainly concerned for a while as he watched the ball fly over his head!
15 mins - There must be a few thousand Hammers fans behind the goal to my left. Fair play to them for turning out on what is a fairly horrid July evening. It's grey and raining. Grim.
11 mins - MK Dons attack down the right through Balanta, who wins a corner. Caraglio heads powerfully clear at the near post and West Ham break. Doumbe gets in on the halfway line before belting the ball out for a corner from fully 50 yards! Stanislas crosses and MK Dons clear through Easter. The Wales international tries to find Baldock with a raking pass, but Daprela gets across well to clear the danger.
10 mins - Stanislas has a great chance to open the scoring, controlling Parker's through ball and beating the MK Dons offside trap. He has a long time to pick his spot, but delays too long and allows Doumbe to block before the ball is hacked behind for a corner. Stanislas will be disappointed with that. He takes the corner himself and Gabbidon heads powerfully, but too high.
9 mins - Diamanti turns his man with ease and drills the ball out wide left to Ben-Hatira. The youngster cuts inside and tries to find Stanislas with a low cross, but it bounces behind for a goal kick. Nice idea.
8 mins - MK Dons are relying on a series of long balls into the channels, all of which Green has dealt with easily. West Ham are trying to pass their way through, but so far their efforts have floundered in the midfield.
5 mins - Good play from Ben-Hatira sees him find Parker. The England man delays his pass before trying to release the German down the right wing, but his effort is just too strong. Ben-Hatira and Stanislas have swapped wings already, and they're now doing so again, with Stanislas coming over to the right.
4 mins - Easter is brought down by Kovac, who appears bang up for the physical challenge. Seconds later, the Czech gives away another free-kick. He'll have to be careful.
2 mins - Upson gets in well to half-clear but MK Dons win the ball back and Easter finds Chadwick on the edge of the box. His shot is blocked by the face of Kovac and flies behind for a corner. Lewington wins it, but the ball hits a defender and goes behind again. The second corner comes to nothing and Parker sweeps the ball upfield.
1 min - Caraglio is putting himself about already, chasing down one MK Dons defender before winning the ball in midfield.
7.33pm - West Ham gets us underway...
7.32pm - The new claret and blue home shirt, combined with the away shorts and socks, looks good from here. I am informed the reason we are in our home kit is because MK Dons' home kit is all white.
7.30pm - Here come the two teams to the strains of Guns 'N' Roses 'Welcome to the Jungle'. Excellent tune... West Ham are wearing their home shirt for the first time.
7.28pm - I'm now told the two teams are in the tunnel, so any delay is going to be very short.
7.27pm - OK, despite the fact both teams have returned to their dressing rooms, we clearly aren't going to kick-off at 7.30pm. I do not know for sure, but I presume that is down to the number of supporters still trying to get into the stadium.
7.25pm - Five minutes to go until kick-off here at stadium:mk and there are a good few travelling Hammers in the ground.
Good evening and welcome to stadium:mk on an unseasonably dark and cold evening in Buckinghamshire.
Having negotiated the endless roundabouts between here and the ground, we are looking forward to seeing Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Jonathan Spector in action for West Ham United for the first time since the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.
Upson will captain a side that contains two unfamiliar names. Forwards Anis Ben-Hatira, a Germany Under-21 international who has played for Hamburger SV, and Argentine forward Milton Caraglio will both start in the front three. A third new face, former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Stefan Wessels, is among the substitutes.
A small number of first-team squad members are missing tonight, including long-term absentees Zavon Hines and Jack Collison. Valon Behrami and Kieron Dyer are being rested ahead of Saturday's trip to Ipswich Town.
One familiar face to Hammers fans in the MK Dons squad is former winger Luke Chadwick, who made 36 appearances and scored once between August 2004 and April 2005.
West Ham United: Green (Wessels 46), Tomkins, Gabbidon (Spector 46), Upson (Da Costa 46), Daprela (Ilunga 64), Kovac (Hitzlsperger 64), Parker (Noble 64), Diamanti (Faubert 64), Ben-Hatira (McCarthy 64), Stanislas (Boa Morte 64), Caraglio (Cole 64)
MK Dons: Gueret, Gleeson (Flanagan 81), Lewington, O'Hanlon (Chicksen 61), Doumbe (Woodards 46), Chadwick (Guy 67), Hamann (Wilbraham 46), Leven (Howell 83), Balanta, Baldock (Ibehre 72), Easter (Carrington 78)