Wycombe Wanderers 1-5 West Ham United
Pre-season match, Adams Park, Tuesday 25 August 2020
West Ham United stormed to a 5-1 pre-season win at EFL Championship new boys Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday afternoon.
Coached by Alan Irvine and Stuart Pearce, the Hammers played some superb football at times, repeatedly opened up the home defence and were full value for their comprehensive victory.
With the wind and rain thankfully abating in time for kick-off, the Irons produced an eye-catching display on a beautiful playing surface at Adams Park, where Arthur Masuaku, Manuel Lanzini and Jarrod Bowen were among the scorers and 16-year-old Jamal Baptiste impressed on his maiden first-team appearance.
It took just five minutes to break the deadlock. Bowen, who caught the eye throughout, got down the right and crossed deep for Manuel Lanzini, whose shot was blocked. The ball fell to Pablo Fornals, who found Masuaku in space 25 yards out and the DR Congo international did the rest, taking a touch before lashing in via the underside of the crossbar.
With teenage centre-back Baptiste looking assured playing between Angelo Ogbonna and fellow Academy of Football graduate Ben Johnson in defence, the Hammers settled down to their work, forcing a succession of corners and pushing Wycombe onto the back foot for long periods.
Bowen tested Stockdale with a free-kick, Johnson headed Mark Noble’s corner wide and Antonio had a goal disallowed for offside after Bowen had struck the base of the post, before the reigning Premier League Player of the Month was denied his first of the season by a Stockdale block.
The second goal the Irons’ play warranted finally arrived on 28 minutes, but in truly bizarre circumstances, as former Fulham goalkeeper Stockdale allowed Darius Charles’ innocuous backpass to slip under his boot and into the net.
The only lapse in an otherwise dominant opening half came four minutes later, when David Martin was forced to tip a miss-hit shot onto the crossbar, and Alex Samuel followed up to net from a yard out.
Undeterred, West Ham were straight back on the offensive and, moments after Bowen had thumped a low drive against the upright, the right winger teed-up Lanzini, who sent a controlled finish beyond Stockdale’s left hand.
And it was 4-1 to Irvine’s men two minutes before the break thanks to a fine team goal. Cullen cut out a pass in midfield before Noble, Lanzini and Fornals combined to cut through the home defence. The Spaniard crossed low, Antonio’s first-time shot was saved but not held, and Bowen followed up to score from six yards out.
The early stages of the second half were more even and less eventful, with Wycombe pressing high. However, West Ham stood firm, with Baptiste making one outstanding tackle to stop Josh Parker in his tracks and a perfectly-timed interception to deny Alex Pattison.
Having come through that period unscathed, the visitors made it five just before the hour-mark. Lanzini dribbled into the penalty area and found Masuaku, whose cutback was slotted home by Bowen.
Baptiste was given a reminder that senior football can be unforgiving with 20 minutes remaining, when he was robbed by Uche Ikpeazu, but the Chairboys’ summer signing from Heart of Midlothian was denied by the alert Martin.
Irvine and Pearce sent on Premier League 2 Division 2 title winners Joseph Anang, Tunji Akinola, Manny Longelo and Xande Silva for the closing stages, bringing the total number of Academy of Football graduates to feature to seven.
All in all, Tuesday's game represented a good workout for this half of the West Ham United squad, who will now join their teammates in preparation for Saturday’s home game with Championship Play-Off finalists Brentford at London Stadium.