DEVELOPMENT SQUAD v BLACKBURN ROVERS
BARCLAYS U21 PREMIER LEAGUE
RUSH GREEN STADIUM
FRIDAY 11 APRIL 2014
REFEREE: CHRISTOPHER POLLARD
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Full-time: It's all over. The Hammers go down to a goal just past the hour mark from Blackburn captain Darragh Lenihan. It was a frustrating afternoon for the home side whose best chance saw Jordan Brown bring the best out of David Raya with a low shot. Defeat is a big blow to the hosts' chances of securing a top-eleven finish in this season's Barclays U21 Premier League. They now head to Sunderland for their last game of the season desperate for a win.
91: Knoyle hoists a high ball into the box, but no one is anywhere near close enough to challenge Raya as he claims the ball.
90: There will be three minutes added on for the Hammers to try and find a goal.
89: The hosts are stuck in their own half as Blackburn try to run down the clock. Preston recieves a yellow card for kicking the ball away after it rolls out of play and rightly so.
87: Tanner slides in on Fanimo to give away a free-kick. Whithead will take it from the halfway line. Harney meets it on the edge of the area but it hits the top of his head and slides out for a goal kick.
85: Whitehead tosses the ball into the box, but it's just not falling for the home side today and a defender is first to the ball to clear.
83: Bywater slams the ball into the net, but the whistle has already gone after Mavila is adjudged to have handled the ball in the build-up.
81: Into the last ten minutes we go. West Ham need to find inspiration from somewhere if they're going to get anything from the match.
79: Preston spurns a gilt-edged chance to wrap this game up. The striker is unmarked in the middle but he sends a glacing header wide of the far post. A let-off for the home side there.
77: A spot of confusion here as the referee gives Blackburn a free-kick before changing his mind after ten or so seconds. The Hammers can't take advantage though, as Burke ends up in an offside position from the ball in.
75: Laidler goes for a spectacular volley as the ball sits up nicely for him inside the Hammers' half. It's never on target, however, and Howes watches it sail over his goal.
73: Mavila does superbly to win a corner after chasing down Fanimo's through ball. Bywater takes, but Doyle is there at the near post to head clear.
71: Raya flies out of his goal like Superman to punch clear Mavila's corner. I'm sure this 'keeper has a mistake in him somewhere along the line.
69: Crash! The bar is still shaking after Preston hits a thunderous half-volley. The ball ricochets to Wall who has a half-volley himself and forces Howes into an excellent finger tip save. It's all happening here!
68: Bywater replaces Sadlier and immediately concedes a free-kick for an adjudged high foot.
67: Laidler finds himself with space inside the Hammers' half and decides to unleash a shot. He strikes it well but too well as it clears the goal by a distance.
65: Brown is felled as he tursn Doyle superbly and beats Bauress before the latter brings him down. Haycock makes his second change bringing on Burke for Lletget.
63: Mavila replaced Cole in the aftermath of the Rovers' goal. The winger will certainly provide an injection of pace into the side.
61 Goal: Lenihan heads Blackburn in front from Bauress' free-kick. The centre-back rose highest to send the ball past Howes and just inside the far post.
59: Nathan Mavila is out of his track suit and looks likely to be joining the action shortly.
57: It's only two exhibitions of great goalkeeping which keeps the score level here. There's already been more action in the secind half than there was in the first.
55: Cullen concedes a free-kick in an identical position to the one Knoyle gave away and has his name taken by the referee. This time Tanner goes for the far corner and Howes dives to his left to make a fantastic finger tip save. Top keeping!
53: Close! Raya makes a superb diving save as Brown drives a shot across the keeper. The stopper gets down low to palm it just out of the reach of Cole at the back post and away to safety.
51: Knoyle has had a torrid afternoon against Wall this afternoon and is penalised in a dangerous position as he grapples with the winger. Tanner lines up a shot and curls his effort harmlessly over Howes' crossbar.
49: Cole races into the box and delivers a teasing ball across the face of goal. Sadlier is busting a gut to reach the back post but even with a slide he is unable to reach the ball.
48: It's been a lively start to the second period by the visitors with Harney again on his toes to deny Wall.
46: The second half begins at Rush Green.
PIC: Joe Cole retains possession during the first half.
Half-time: The minute of injury time passes without incident, much the same as the whole of the first half. There's been very little action to get excited about with Joe Cole's effort after one minute the best either side has mustered so far. Let's hope for better in the second half.
46: One minute of added time to be played.
45: Cole is trying his best to spark some life into the game, but the final ball has not been up to what either manager would expect from their sides.
43: Fanimo yells in anguish as he balloons a cross over the waiting players in the box, over the goal and over the stadium wall. That sums up the game so far.
41: As we tick towards the break the game has quietened down, with both sides seemingly nulifying the others threat.
39: The Hammers are just failing to get out of second gear here as they search for a way through a stubborn Blackburn defence.
37: Rittenberg is the man chosen to replace Green on the right-hand side of the Blackburn midfield.
36: A welcome break for some of the players is provided as Green stays down and requires treatment. It doesn't look too good and he'll have to be replaced.
34: The away side nearly profit from Knoyle's loose pass as the full-back gives the ball away in the opposition's half. They break with intensity and slide Laidler through on goal but he fires a first time shot to the left of Howes' goal.
32: The crowd ring show their appreciation for Cullen after the tenacious midfielder tracks Wall a good 40 yards before executing a perfect slide tackle which wins his side possession.
30: Lletget strikes the first meaningful effort since Cole's early shot. The American picks the ball up on the edge of the box and takes a touch before sending a shot just over the bar.
28: The Blackburn keeper thinks he's a striker as he exceutes a nice Cruyff turn to get past the attentions of Brown. It's not the first time he's taken a chance at the back and they may yet prove to be an area for the Hammers to exploit.
26: Laidler is penalised for a late challenge on Knoyle as the full-back attempts to find Cole. Whithead takes the free-kick but floats it way too high and it's easy pickings for Raya.
24: Harney makes another well-timed interception to stop a Blackburn attack. The defender has so far been on top of his game to snuff out several attacks.
22: After a slow start Blackburn have begun to enjoy more possession than the Hammers and, at present, are enjoying the greater attacking threat.
20: Potts concedes a corner as the Hammers are forced to backtrack following a nice Blackburn move which resulted in Laidler's cross. The corner is met by an attacker and looks to be heading on target before it's blocked before reaching Howes.
18: Harney and Cullen both slide in to make crucial tackles this time as a number of Rovers' players line up for a shot. Cullen sticks his head in bravely to deny Laidler on one of the attempted shots.
16: Harney draws warm applause from the stands as he slides in to deny Wall. His tackle had to be perfect as the winger was inside the box. Luckily it was.
14: Cole whips in a free-kick from the right-hand side after Sadlier is felled. The ball in finds Potts who sends a downward header wide of the target.
12: Whitehead tracks Wall all the way back as he looks to stop the cross. The winger does, however, manage to squeeze a cross in but it sails harmlessly over the bar.
10: Lletget is found by Fanimo on the box but the midfielder isn't allowed to turn and he lays the ball back to Fanimo. The left-back delivers a ball into the box but by that point everyone has pushed out and the keeper is left to gather untroubled.
8: Cullen is penalised softly after getting across Wall's path as he looks to break over the halfway line.
6: Whitehead scuffs an attempted volleyed clearance and concedes a corner. A combination of Harney and Potts are on hand to clear from the corner as Wall tries to get a header on target.
4: What a start that would have been for the Hammers who haven't let their visitors out of their own half yet.
2: The Hammers almost take an immediate lead as Cole plays a one-two with Sadlier before firing a right-foot shot just wide. Close!
1 min: We're under-way at Rush Green as the Hammers go in search of an important three points.
1:57pm: The teams are summoned from their dressing rooms and follow as the referee leads the way onto the pitch. After the handshakes we'll be under-way here.
1:50pm: Joe Cole is looking in fine form as he places shot after shot into the bottom corner of the net during the warm-up. A sight for all West Ham fans to savour.
1:45pm: There's a healthy crowd of Hammers' fans at Rush Green and there's still time and space for plenty more to arrive.
PIC: The sun is out, the shades would be on had I not misplaced them, the music's pumping as we near kick-off at Rush Green.
1:25pm: The Hammers join their counter parts on the pitch now, with Joe Cole embracing Hendry and having a chat before he jogs off to join the rest of the team.
1:20pm: Blackburn players are out to begin their warm-up with a familiar face amongst their coaching staff. Former Rovers defender Colin Hendry is still sporting his long blonde hair even now as he puts his players through their paces.
PIC: The view from inside the home dressing room here at Rush Green, where Joe Cole will be hoping to inspire the U21s to a much-needed three points.
1:05pm: This game was originally scheduled for a 7pm kick-off but with the easter holidays and the glorious sunshine we're now set-up for a great afternoon of football. There is still plenty of time for you to get down to Rush Green. Entry is free for Season Ticket Holders, £3 Adults and £1 Concessions.
The Development squad return to Rush Green for the last time this season as they take on Blackburn Rovers in their penultimate Barclays Under-21 Premier League fixture hoping that home comforts can help them secure a much-needed victory. Nick Haycock underlined the importance of three points from this match in order to help the Hammers secure a top-eleven finish which would guarantee them a place in the top tier of U21 football next season.
In order to help them achieve that, Haycock will again be able to call on the services of England midfielder Joe Cole, who played the full 90 minutes during the side's 2-0 defeat against Bolton Wanderers on Monday. The ninth place Hammers will be going all out against Rovers, who have endured a miserable season which has seen them win only two league matches all season, leaving them bottom of the table.
West Ham United: Sam Howes, Kyle Knoyle, Matthias Fanimo, Daniel Whitehead, Dan Potts, Jamie Harney, Sebastian Lletget, Josh Cullen, Jordan Brown, Joe Cole, Kieran Sadlier
Subs: Reece Burke, Gines Guzman, Nathan Mavila, Kieran Bywater, Amos Nasha