WEST HAM UNITED v WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
BARCLAYS U21 PREMIER LEAGUE ELITE GROUP STAGE
FRIDAY 19 APRIL 2013
REFEREE: ALAN YOUNG
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Final score - West Ham United 3-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
93 mins - Marian Kello crashes it long and Ruddock just about gets it clear. He opts to chest it down, but it's a heavy touch and he's forced into a last-ditch lunge as Wolves men close rank. He hacks it clear and Maguire has a chance to stretch his legs. Mavila is busting a gut to get in the box but Maguire's unable to find him. That's pretty much the last kick ,as Alan Young's whistle is music to West Ham ears. They've certainly done it the hard way but it's three points all the same. Job done.
90 mins - The fourth official indicates there will be another three minutes for the Hammers to see out. Probably fair enough, on account of four goals. West Ham win a throw deep in Wolves territory, precisely where they'll hope to stay.
87 mins - In fact, it's the home side who go close to extending their advantage. Callum Driver wins it back in his own penalty area, before smashing it long for Maguire to chase, The Irishman does superbly to bring it under his spell before sliding a devilish ball across the face of goal. Ismail should clear but has something of a rush of blood to the head as he positively Hammers it goalward. Fortunately for him it just about clears the bar! Strange.
85 mins - Can the Hammers hold on? Wolves are, inevitably, throwing men forward but it has been relatively plain sailing thus far.
82 mins - GOAL! The Hammers are back in front. Mavila's deep cross looks to have too much on it, but is diverted back into the box by Moncur and Lletget is on hand to slide it home. Kello in the Wolves goal may well be disappointed, as it appears to go through his legs. Lletget doesn't care as he's mobbed on the edge of the box.
80 mins - We're into the final ten minutes here and this one appears to be wide open.
77 mins - The Hammers are showing plenty of spirit here to gather themselves for another assault on the Wolves goal. Maguire has it in the box, but goes to ground under a challenge. It looks pretty soft from here and Young agrees as he dismisses the Hammers' penalty appeals.
74 mins - West Ham are bang up against it now and are at panic stations as the ball bobbles horribly around the box. Thankfully, it won't fall for an amber shirt and the Hammers heave it clear. Seconds later and there's handbags as Pelly Ruddock and Sam Winnall square up to one another. Several others pile it but calm is eventually restored and the two chief protagonists are cautioned. Elsewhere, Lee departs the scene, with Nathan Mavila joining the action,
71 mins - Goal. That's the leveller and it's a huge stroke of luck for the visitors. Lee Evans has a dig from the edge of the box, and though it's hardly the most venomous strike you've ever seen, it takes a nick off someone, which deceives Baxter. 2-2.
68 mins - Smart play that from Maguire. He chests it down, before hooking over his own head in the direction of Lee. West Ham's No9 appears to have a march on the defender but it won't sit down and it skips away from him.
65 mins - Wolves win a free-kick some 30 yards from goal and the Hammers line up a SIX-man wall! Not seen that recently. Anywho, Ismail's strike is decent enough and though Baxter flings himself across goal, it goes a good yard or two wide. Even so, Ismail reacts as if it were a whole lot closer.
62 mins - This game has suddenly got a whole lot quicker, with defences at both ends getting stretched. Maguire twists and turns in the box, but Kello does well to gather his low centre. At the other end, the visitors want a spot-kick for a high foot, but Young's not the least bit interested.
59 mins - Goal. The visitors are right back in it. Baxter initially does well to race off his line to smother the first effort, but there's nothing he can do about the second. Winnall skips past a challenge in the box, before firing low and hard past Baxter into the far corner. Game on, I'm afraid. Ironically, West Ham might have made it three moments earlier, as Maguire wriggled free in the area, only to see his effort repelled by Kello.
56 mins - Ben Marlow very nearly gets a boot to the head on the edge of the opposition box. He wants a free-kick, but referee Young is gesturing to suggest that Marlow was stooping to head the ball.
54 mins - Wolves win a free-kick right on the very edge of the box. That must have been mightily close to being a penalty. Anyway, the set piece comes to nothing, as Michael Ihiekwe's header balloons well over the bar.
51 mins - Wolves make a second swap in a matter of minutes, with Tim Jakobsson being withdrawn in place of Lewis Clarkson. In fairness, there's a discernible change in tack here from the visitors, who are beginning to press the Hammers back.
49 mins - I should also tell you that Wolves made a change at the break, with Jamie Tank replacing Elokobi. Meanwhile, as the visitors try to find a way back into the contest, Samir Bihmoutine, on trial from Arsenal, slashes an effort very, very wide of the target.
46 mins - GOAL! That's some start to the second half. Within less than 20 seconds of the restart, the Hammers have it in the back of the net. Elliot Lee reacts quickest in the box and slams a fine finish into the top corner. Whatever Nick Haycock said at the break, I think it probably worked.
45 mins - There's just the solitary minute of additional time, which doesn't amount to a great deal of note. Mr Alan Young brings the first half to a close. The Hammers ahead and deservedly so. Join us back here in 15.
44 mins - Wolves are proving to be something of a threat on the counter and break away again down the right. It's winger Zeli Ismail who has the ball at his feet, but a combination of Ruddock and Shaw snuff out the danger.
41 mins - Some really untidy stuff here at the back for West Ham. Ruddock slices a clearance and forces Baxter to race from his line to stop Sam Winnall taking full of advantage. The No9 beats Baxter to it but wisely opts to across from an acute angle. Shaw leaps at the back-stick to clear and West Ham survive. Not pretty though.
39 mins - At the other end, Maguire picks it up in the middle of the park but his ball over the top is ambitious in the extreme. He tries to pick out the run of Lee but there's nothing doing as his pass drifts harmlessly into the 'keeper's gloves.
37 mins - For the first time in a long time, the visitors have it in the final third. A free-kick from the right is marginally over hit and allows Frazer Shaw to head clear. The resulting corner causes unnecessary trouble, as two Hammers collide in their attempts to clear. The ball, meanwhile, skips up off a stray boot and nestles on the roof the goal.
34 mins - Suffice to say both goalkeepers are struggling somewhat, with what is still a difficult surface here at Rush Green. On that note, Baxter skews a clearance into the sky, but there's no damage done. Probably wise to go easy on the backpasses tonight.
30 mins - No let-up here from the hosts. Moncur strides towards the penalty area, before curling a right-footed effort towards the far corner. Sadly, it has got a shade too much shape on it and it drifts past the far post.
27 mins - West Ham win a free-kick out wide on the right-hand side. Moncur whips it in, curling it menacingly away from the 'keeper. The heads go up and it comes off a gold shirt for a corner. Moncur trots over to take it and this time the visitors have trouble clearing their lines. It falls to the feet of Maguire, who chests it down before volleying goalward, albeit a foot or two over the bar.
25 mins - A heartstopping moment here for Wolves full-back Jamie Reckord. His attempted back-pass has some height and pace on it. Luckily for him, Kello has decent feet and manages to control and slash clear, despite the attentions of Elliot Lee.
23 mins - West Ham are running the show here. Lletget dances down the left wing, evading one challenge, before fizzing in a ball to the near post. Bywater has made the run but is just edged out of it. Even if the goal was fortuitous, there's nothing streaky about the Hammers' football now.
20 mins - Some first-class football here from the hosts. Maguire attempts to find Moncur with a dinked ball in behind, but Elokobi just about gets his head in the way. It comes back to the Irishman, who slides in Lletget. The American in turn lays it off to Elliot Lee, who cuts inside onto his right foot, before belting a curler towards goal. It's got plenty on it, but Kello in the Wolves goal is right behind it.
17 mins - Wolves No10 Jack Price is off after a long ball and Amos Nasha is forced into action, as he somehow manages to shovel it behind with his head. The corner from the right is a carbon copy of the first. Slung in to the front post and Baxter collects. Waste.
15 mins - Nick Haycock has been forced into an early change here, as Blair Turgott departs the scene. First-year scholar Ben Marlow is his replacement.
11 mins - GOAL! Just as I was about to bemoan the lack of goalmouth activity, the Hammers, out of absolutely nothing, get their noses in front. A header back to Wolves keeper Kello is woefully short, allowing Maguire to nip in and round him. His finish is not the cleanest but it has just enough on it to beat George Elokobi as he scrambles back to try and clear. Certainly not the tidiest goal Maguire will ever score, but on his first start, I suggest he won't be too fussed.
9 mins - It seems Maguire has Elokobi for company this evening. If you're not familiar with the 27-year-old defender, I assure you the size difference between the pair is startling to say the very least. I hate to say it, but I don't fancy the West Ham forward in aerial duels!
6 mins - Pelly Ruddock climbs highest to deal with a right-wing centre, though his header drifts behind. The resulting corner is floated towards the near post but Sam Baxter needs no invitation to come off his line and claim cleanly.
4 mins - Bywater is in the thick of it once more, but this time in rather more unfortunate circumstances. He takes the ball full in the face from a matter of yards and falls to earth with quite a thump. It takes him a moment, but he's eventually back on his feet. Unpleasant to say the least!
2 mins - Kieran Bywater has a sniff of a chance in the Wolves box. It's bobbling around but he can't quite bring it under control as 'keeper Marian Kello tidies up.
1 min - Right, here we go. Wolves get us underway. Apologies for the slow start, technical difficulties have hit rather early this evening! Anyway, enough of that, we have a game on our hands here.
18:50pm - Ten minutes until kick-off and it's good news so far, having managed to swerve Public Address duties once again. It's refreshingly bright here at Rush Green, though the floodlights are already making their presence felt.
18:30pm - The teams are in, and with West Ham's first team in the midst of a three-game week, Nick Haycock names a young side to take on Wolves this evening.
For the first time in the Elite Group, the Hammers do not have a single over-aged player among their ranks, with regulars Jordan Spence, Dan Potts and Wellington Paulista all omitted.
Elsewhere, January recruit Sean Maguire makes his first start for the Hammers, having previously made four appearances from the bench, while Sam Baxter is in between the sticks for the Hammers.
For the visitors, 27-year-old full-back George Elokobi is drafted in, who has made 78 senior league appearances for the club.
West Ham United: Baxter, Driver, Shaw, Lletget, Nasha, Ruddock, Bywater, Moncur, Lee, Maguire, Turgott.
Subs: Marlow, Nemrava, Onariase, Mavila, Page.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Kello, Cranston, Reckord, Evans, Elokobi, Ihiekwe, Ismail, Jakobsson, Winnall, Price, Bihmoutine.
Subs: Parry, Cotman, Iorfa, Tank, Clarkson
A very good evening and welcome to Rush Green for this evening's Barclays Under-21 Premier League Elite Group fixture pitting West Ham United against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Due to the postponements of trips to both West Bromwich Albion and, on Monday, to Southampton, this is the third of four successive home fixtures for Nick Haycock's side.
The Hammers have now drawn each of their last three Elite Group clashes, against Liverpool (3-3), Arsenal (1-1) and Tottenham Hotspur (1-1) respectively.
The Dev Squad's last victory in this competition was back on 8 February, courtesy of a 2-0 triumph over West Brom at Rush Green. Elliot Lee and Brazilian Wellington Paulista were the men on target that day.
The Hammers are a point and a place above Wolves, with the midlanders sitting seventh, having amassed nine points from their eleven outings. Last time out, Wolves succumbed to a 3-2 home defeat to Arsenal on Monday.
The sides last met at AFC Telford United's New Bucks Head home on 26 February, when the hosts struck twice in the final eight minutes to cancel out Sebastian Lletget's opener and complete a dramatic turnaround.
We will confirm team news shortly and there shall be live text updates as of this evening's 7pm kick-off.