Reserves Lose At Leicester

A YOUNG Hammers Reserves team put up a brave fight before eventually losing 3-0 to a vastly more experienced Leicester City at Kettering Town.

Andy Melville was the only senior player included in Kevin Keen's side, while youngsters Moses Ashikodi and Youssef Sofiane had the unenviable task of replacing Bobby Zamora and Sergei Rebrov in attack.

In contrast, the Leicester side included the likes of veteran striker Dion Dublin and striker Trevor Benjamin along with a number of players with first-team experience.

Nevertheless, West Ham's young side began the game brightly, displaying plenty of commitment and endeavour.  Unfortunately for the enthusiastic Hammers, Leicester's experience began to tell as the game went on.

And after a succession of corners it was Nathan Blake who opened the scoring for the home side with a powerful header that left Hammers goalkeeper Matt Reed with no chance.

Kevin Keen's side came back into the game after going behind, but with Dion Dublin marshalling the Leicester defence they struggled to break through on goal. On the stroke of half-time Williams made it 2-0 to Leicester, beating Reed with a cool finish.

Hammers problems were compounded when Chris Cohen was forced off with an injury at half-time.  West Ham came out for the second-half with renewed determination and began to make the game uncomfortable for the hosts.

Mark Noble and Greg Pearson both had chances to score, but sadly it never looked like being West Ham's night. Midway through the second-half Leicester all but ended the match as a contest with a thunderous individual goal, which consigned the Hammers to a 3-0 defeat.

However, Kevin Keen praised the effort put in by his young side against their more experienced opponents.  He said: "We had a very young side out and despite the result I thought they did extremely well against a vastly experienced Leicester team.

"They competed very well and in the second-half even had the chances to get back into the game. Leicester had the likes of Dion Dublin in their side, and a few other experienced professionals, so it was always going to be a very tough game for us.

"But we put on a brave show and I told the players that they can come away from this game with their heads held high."

WHU: Reed; Henry, Blewitt, Melville, Ward, Cohen (McClenahan 45), Sofiane, Noble, Pearson (Allen 60), Ashikodi (Stokes 65), Reid. Subs Unused: Laws, Behcet.