DEVELOPMENT SQUAD v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR U21s
BARCLAYS U21 PREMIER LEAGUE
FRIDAY 23 AUGUST 2013
REFEREE: CARL FITCH
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Final score - West Ham United U21s 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur U21s
92: Time's ticking and West Ham haven't really managed to fashion a chance of note since falling behind. No lack of desire from the men in claret and blue, who are chasing around to the very last. I'm afraid that's full-time and Spurs make it three wins out of three, with this rather impressive escape act. There's no disgrace whatever in losing to this Spurs side, who were given a real run for their money this evening.
Next up for Nick Haycock's men is a trip to Newcastle on Monday 2 September, much like many of you tomorrow, no doubt. Over and out!
90: There will be a minimum of three added minutes, as Spurs very wisely keep possession in these closing seconds. There was a late show at Melwood last season, as the Hammers drew 3-3 at Liverpool, can they repeat the feat here?
88: A late change for Nick Haycock, as Dylan Tombides comes on for Turgott. This is so harsh on the hosts, but there's precious little time now for the Hammers to do a great deal about it. We shall see.
86: Goal. The Hammers' resistance is broken for a third time as the visitors take the lead for the first time this evening. Lameiras lofts a delicate ball over a line of West Ham defenders, enabling an apparently onside Coulthirst to slam emphatically beyond Spiegel.
85: Not long after his introduction and McEvoy is met with a meaty if fair challenge from Driver. The referee Carl Fitch thinks otherwise and hands the men in white a free-kick.
82: A third and final change for Spurs here, as Kenneth McEvoy, the famous Gareth Bale lookalike, replaces Holtby. McEvoy has twice enjoyed successful evenings here both with the U18s and U21s, so here's hoping history is not about to repeat itself.
80: Coulthirst tries to take on both Driver and Ruddock, and succeeds, at least in part, as he wins the corner. It's a Spurs head who wins the resulting set piece, but Spiegel need only watch it land safely on the roof of the net.
77: Safe to say, neither side are settling for the draw here. It's making for a stunning spectacle just now, as Sadlier's cross from the left is inches over the head of Lee. It comes to Moncur at the far post, who twists and turns his defender, but turns down the opportunity to shoot. It belatedly falls to Turgott, but his strike balloons over the bar.
75: What a chance that is. West Ham come away with it and Seb Lletget plays in Moncur. He has all the time in the world to measure his strike on goal, but slams it straight at Vigouroux. The 'keeper can't gather cleanly, but there's no one in a West Ham shirt to pounce on the rebound.
71: Another chance for the visitors but it is, at least from range. It's squared across the Hammers' 18-yard box to Kevin Stewart, whose drive is well struck, but comfortably clears the crossbar. A moment's respite allows me to clarify a slight reshuffle upon McCartney's departure. Driver slots in at right back, with Potts reverting to left and Chambers drops in at centre-half.
69: The Hammers simply have to stem the tide here and are granted some light relief as they win a corner. Pelly Ruddock does his utmost to win it, but is partially muscled out of it and Vigouroux collects.
66: Goal. Holtby has been excellent all evening long and levels the scores with a brilliant curling finish from all of 25 yards, if not 30. Not much Spiegel could do about that. Ironically, the Hammers' stopper had palmed one away from Holtby seconds earlier, but Spurs kept it alive and got their reward. Game on.
64: The visitors respond in kind, with a double switch of their own. Zeki Fryers and Lancaster depart, to be replaced by Ruben Lameiras and Darren McQueen.
63: It's job done for McCartney, if not for his teammates. The left-back is withdrawn, as was the plan, presumably, with Callum Driver taking his place. It's an excellent evening's work for McCartney, who has hardly put a foot wrong. Encouraging to say the least.
61: Much ado about very little, as it turns out. Spiegel, I'm pleased to say, is promptly back to his feet and on we go.
59: Nick Haycock reacts by making his first change of the evening, as Paul McCallum is withdrawn, with Kieran Sadlier joining the action. Meanwhile, Raphael Spiegel collects a corner from the far side, but appears to have landed awkwardly and is to receive treatment.
56: Goal. Spurs halve the deficit and in fortunate fashion too. Dawkins has a dig from the edge of the box, which takes a wicked deflection off McCartney and flies past the helpless Spiegel. Hard to say definitively, but I shouldn't think the original shot was destined to beat Spiegel, but that's of no consequence now.
54: Pelly to the rescue. Holtby picks out Simon Dawkins who tries, without success, to escape the attention of the No6. Ruddock sticks to his task and manages to dispossess the forward and bring it clear.
52: It's that man Holtby again, but this is far from his most telling contribution of the evening. He has a wild swing from distance and Spiegel very happily watches sail high, very high over his bar. The Hammers will be very content indeed to see the visitors shooting from there!
50: German international Holtby is running the show for Spurs here, as the visitors search for a way back. West Ham, organised and disciplined, are looking sturdy just now.
48: Some intent from Spurs. Holtby finds Coulthirst who tries his luck from 20 yards, not for the first time tonight. The No7 is frustrated once more, as another effort flies over the angle of post and bar, not by much though. Warning signs, if nothing more.
47: Moncur does sensationally well in the middle of the park, evading two challenges with some fancy footwork. He tries to play in McCallum, but it's slightly overhit and Spurs clear their lines.
46: So, here we go again. More of the same please, though something tells me West Ham are going to have to defend well after the break. I should point out, it's as you were for both sides.
19:54pm - There's 798 here this evening to see the Club's exciting next generation, some of whom may well be involved in the Capital One Cup tie on Tuesday. It's just £10 for adults and a fiver for U16s, so there's no excuse not to be here!
46: GOAL! West Ham do have a second and it's three in three for Seb Lletget. Pelly Ruddock heads Moncur's set-piece back across goal and the American nods beyond a stranded Vigouroux. Nothing more than the Hammers deserve.
Just a word of warning, Spurs have only failed to score twice in their last 30 U21 outings. Might make for an interesting second half. Haycock's men have been excellent so far and every bit worthy of a commanding half-time lead. Back shortly.
45: McCallum must be wondering what he has to do to score this evening. He leaps highest to meet Moncur's corner, but before he can wheel away in celebration, Coulthirst sticks out a leg to prevent it crossing the line.
44: Lletget plays a neat give and go with Lee on the edge of the box, before the latter is unceremoniously felled. Lee looks keen on the free-kick, in a central position on the D, and it's he who takes it, though it's deflected off the wall and behind for a corner.
42: The Hammers have a free-kick on the near touchline and for once, Moncur's delivery is wasteful. He gets far too much on it and his centre balloons into the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand behind the goal.
40: Spiegel's stop very nearly pays instant dividends, as the Hammers are inches from doubling their advantage. Lee is through on goal and the clinical finisher aims for the far post, but as he topples over, his drive fizzes inches wide. By his standards, he'll likely to be disappointed not to have at least hit the target there.
39: West Ham try to play it out from the back, but only succeed in gifting the visitors possession. Coulthirst is the beneficiary and it takes a stunning one-handed Spiegel stop to prevent his angled drive from nestling in the far corner. Strong hand!
36: Another chance goes begging, though this time it's McCallum with his head in his hands. Potts gets to the byline and clips in a delightful centre, but McCallum's header drifts agonisingly past the far post.
34: Dan Potts is in the mood and might have a second! Lletget is typically tidy on the edge of the box, before laying off a measured pass into Pott's path. To his anguish, the full-back can't adjust his feet quickly enough, nor take the ball in his stride. It gives Vigouroux an opportunity to come and smother, one that he gratefully accepts.
32: Spurs win a free-kick but rather than putting one in the mixer, they opt to take it quickly. Holtby takes charge and unwisely tries to shoot as at least three West Ham shirts close him down. Inevitably, it's blocked, and that seems rather a waste for the visitors.
29: At the other end, Spurs are getting closer, but McCartney throws himself to the floor to block a goal-bound effort. He's certainly enjoying himself thus far.
28: Another set piece and yet more alarm for the visitors. Moncur swings it in and Vigouroux punches, though not at all convincingly. It just about clears the penalty area and there's no one in a claret and blue shirt to pick up the pieces.
26: Spurs don't take kindly to going behind and come pouring forward in search of parity. Milos Veljkovic sizes up the goal from 20 yards out, before smashing a drive just over the crossbar.
23: GOAL! The Hammers are in front, as Dan Potts stabs home from close range. A short Moncur corner finds its way to Lee, who sends a cross, of sorts, toward the far post, where the skipper is on hand to prod beyond Vigouroux. 1-0!
21: Chambers takes charge of a free-kick just inside the Hammers' half. He floats it towards lee and Ball is pressed into action, conceding a corner for his troubles.
18: A second chance in as many minutes and the big man McCallum is involved again. He's first to a neat ball over the top, clipping it over the advancing Vigouroux. Sadly, he doesn't get quite enough on it and despite Turgott's best efforts, Spurs are able to hack it clear.
17: The break is on here for the hosts as Leo Chambers slides in Blair Turgott down the right. The Hammers winger has time and space to pick out a cross, one that is met with an acrobatic Paul McCallum effort, though he's unable to make a clean contact.
15: Spurs have it on the edge of the box and are intricate in their attempts to find a way through. It eventually comes to Holtby, whose effort slams into the chest of Ruddock. I'm not sure how much he knew about that, but it'll go down as a good block all the same.
13: I'm reliably informed that Spurs are playing a 4-2-3-1 this evening, though it's a rather flexible system to say the least. Back to the action and Shaquile Coulthirst squares up Potts but then seems to lose his bearings, as he rolls it straight into the path of Moncur. Curious.
11: Not much in the way of chances just yet, but bearing in mind that Spurs' opening two clashes have seen a total of 15 goals, I suspect it won't remain this way.
9: Moncur intercepts in his own half and immediately picks his head up to send Elliot Lee in the clear. He looks to have a march on the centre-half, but Dominic Ball slides into stop the No9 in his tracks.
7: At the other end, there's danger for the Hammers as full-back Alex McQueen skips to the by-line. But Ruddock takes up an excellent position at the near post and prevents any further damage.
6: Seconds later and McCartney comes bursting forward, seemingly intent on having a dig. Just as he nears the box, he thinks better of it, and instead plays in Potts to his left. So far so good for the Northern Ireland international.
5: Meanwhile, the Hammers a win a first corner of the evening. Moncur skips over toward the Chicken Run to take it and whips it in with real pace. Potts climbs highest but cannot direct his header on target.
3: It's a composed and confident start from the visitors, as they play it around neatly enough in the opposition half. But there's no end product on this occasion, as a hopeful through ball drifts harmlessly into the arms of Raphael Spiegel.
1: The Hammers get us underway here at the Boleyn Ground, attacking the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand in this first half. The returning McCartney has slotted in at centre-half next to Pelly Ruddock.
18:56pm - Decent crowd in this evening, all congregating in the Alpari Stand Lower. Here come the teams, with skipper for the evening Dan Potts leading out the men in claret and blue.
18:30pm - The teams are in and, as expected, George McCartney makes his long-awaited return, as he starts for Nick Haycock's men this evening. Full-back Callum Driver, who scored the opener at Everton on Monday, is unfortunate to drop to the bench. Elsewhere, centre-forward Paul McCallum is drafted in, with Dylan Tombides making way.
West Ham United U21s: Spiegel, Chambers, Potts, Whitehead, McCartney, Ruddock, Turgott, Moncur, Lee, McCallum, Lletget
Subs: Sadlier, Howes, Driver, Tombides, Nasha
Tottenham Hotspur U21s: Vigouroux, A McQueen, Stewart, Veljkovic, Ball, Fryers, Coulthirst, Dombaxe, Lancaster, Holtby, Dawkins
Subs: McEvoy, Miles, Lameiras, D Mcqueen
A very good evening and welcome to the Boleyn Ground for this evening's Barclays Under-21 Premier League fixture between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Nick Haycock's Development Squad have got off to a flier in the new campaign, seeing off Aston Villa 3-0 at Rush Green, before departing Southport with a 2-1 victory over Everton.
It's a similar story for this evening's visitors, who also have an early 100 per cent record to protect. Free-scoring Spurs won 4-2 at Chelsea on the opening day, before thumping Manchester City 6-3 at their Enfield training ground.
Harry Kane and Tom Carroll accounted for four of those six goals against City, with the former taking home the match ball, but neither are included this evening, thanks to their involvement in Spurs' Europa League win against Dinamo Tbilisi.
However, German international Lewis Holtby is set to feature, having now recovered from an injury sustained in this summer's European Under-21 Championship finals.
As for the Hammers, Nick Haycock is likely to stick, for the most part, with the squad that has served him so very well thus far. Elliot Lee and Sebastian Lletget both have two goals thus far, while 'keeper Raphael Spiegel has been beaten just once in two outings.
Elsewhere, Northern Ireland left-back George McCartney may well be drafted in, as he steps up his rehabilitation from a knee injury. Sam Allardyce said earlier in the week that he expected the Hammers' No3 to play some part in Tuesday's Capital One Cup tie at home to Sky Bet League Two side Cheltenham Town.
We will bring you all the team news as soon as we get it, while there will be live text updates as of this evening's 7pm kick-off.