Joe's 90

Joe Cole handed Glenn Roeder a welcome boost ahead of Saturday's London derby against Tottenham Hotspur as he came through a full 90 minutes in the reserve team's 2-2 draw with Leicester City at Upton Park on Tuesday night.

The young England star followed up his 25 minute substitute appearance at Charlton last night with an impressive display in the centre of midfield against the Foxes, looking stronger as the game wore on and proving that he certainly hasn't lost any confidence with a typically audacious moment of skill late in the game.

Sadly for Joe and his team-mates, the night ended in disappointment as striker Dean Sturridge snatched a late point for the visitors when he raced on to a long ball over the defence in the 85th minute and rounded David James to tap home.

The equaliser was harsh on the Hammers who, despite going a goal down seven minutes before half-time from Trevor Benjamin, generally dominated the game and created several clear cut chances with some excellent passing and movement.

Omer Riza went close on a number of occasions, while Grant McCann and John Moncur both rattled the woodwork with stinging long-range efforts.

It was young Australian striker Richard Garcia who came up trumps for the Hammers, though, with two good finishes following some neat build-up play.

The first arrived just two minutes after Benjamin's opener, when Gary Charles raced down the right and whipped in a dangerous cross that was only half-cleared to Garcia, whose snap-shot beat Simon Royce at the near post.

With 11 minutes remaining, a sweeping pass from Cole found Riza on the left and the former Arsenal trainee picked out Courtois, who turned in the box and squared an inviting pass for Garcia to stab home what appeared to be the winner.

That was until Sturridge struck six minutes later, and there was more bad news for the Hammers as defender Gary Charles - making his first appearance of the season after finally recovering from injury - suffered a recurrence of the hamstring problem that has continually plagued him and was forced off in the dying moments.

So mixed feelings for boss Roger Cross, who said afterwards: "It was an excellent performance and I thought we played well in both halves, so to concede a late goal and miss out on three points was disappointing. We thoroughly deserved to win it.

"We had a lot of good possession and carved open a lot of good openings - Omer Riza and Richard Garcia had a lot of chances - but you need to score when you are in those positions.

"Saying that, the two goals were good finishes at the end of very good moves and I was pleased with Richard, who was playing in attack again after spending a lot of time in midfield this season.

"It was also good to see Joe Cole back - he was feeling his way in from the beginning of the game and, the longer it went on, the more stronger and confident he became.

"He just needed the game to show what he can do and he will only get better and better now."

Roger also expressed his sadness at seeing Charles break down again, adding: "I feel so sorry for Gary because he has worked so hard to get back and he was feeling fine throughout the game.

"I was actually going to take him off earlier as a precaution but they scored and he was okay, so I left it as it was. He is very disappointed and it is a real shame."

Roger concluded: "It was a good night because we played very well, and with a fantastic attitude, but I am just disappointed with the fact that we didn't hold on for the win."

Team: James, Charles (Britton 89), McCann, Potts, Cleaver, Newton, Cole, Moncur, Courtois, Garcia, Riza. Subs unused: B.McMahon, Ferrante, Ferdinand, Allen.