Reserves Win Against Fulham

HAMMERS Reserves won 2-1 against London rivals Fulham at Upton Park, goals from Luke Chadwick and James Tomkins earning Kevin Keen's men all three points.

It was only the second time this season that the Reserves have run-out at Upton Park, but the intensity of this game would not have been out of place in the Championship.

The match was lively and competitive from the outset, and inside five minutes Kyel Reid had sent an angled drive whistling just over the Fulham crossbar.

Inside ten minutes Fulham registered their first effort, a low shot from Stuart Noble barely troubling Stephen Bywater in the Hammers goal.

With 20 minutes gone a scrappy half was injected with a rare piece of quality when Reid spun skilfully away from Alex Lawless and surged through on goal, only to see his shot once again rise over the bar when he should have tested Ricardo Batista in the visitors' goal.

A defence marshalled by captain Chris Cohen, once again impressing at centre-half,  comfortably held the pacy Fulham attack, while at the other end Hammers always looked dangerous.

Reid's play on the left wing was causing Fulham plenty of problems and when he swung in a deep ball, which was headed back by Luke Chadwick, Hogan Ephraim had a great chance to score. But his scorching 12 yard volley was blocked on the line by a Fulham defender.

The hard-running Ismael Ehui tested Bywater with a low drive, before Hammers made their dominance count on 36 minutes.

A sweeping move down the left saw Rufus Brevett's low cross diverted into the path of Tony Stokes, who drilled in a low shot that looked to be going in, before Luke Chadwick made sure with the slightest of touches that took the ball past Batista.

Moments later, Moses Ashikodi's pace caught Fulham on the break, but he curled his shot wide from the edge of the area.

Bywater had to make a smart intervention to deny Ehui, as the half closed with Hammers leading by a single goal.

HT: 1-0

Fulham lost their most experienced player at half-time, Mark Pembridge making way for Kazeem Kareem. Just after the restart Luke Chadwick's cheeky back heel almost found Ashikodi in the box.

As he did in the first-half, Stuart Noble threatened for Fulham early on, beating Jemel Henry with a fine touch, but firing wide from a tight angle.

On 65 minutes skipper Chris Cohen's header tested Batista after Tomkins had headed back Kyel Reid's corner.

Five minutes later a desperate lunge by Michael Timlin on Gavin Williams earned the Fulham forward a yellow card and saw tempers flare for the first time in this spirited encounter.

With 15 minutes left Stokes came close to adding a second for West Ham. Good work from Luke Chadwick presented him with the chance on the angle, but Stokes dragged his shot across goal and wide of the far post.

At the back, Stephen Bywater was all but redundant as Hammers defence put up a solid rearguard display to hold Fulham at bay.

Right up to the final whistle Hammers looked the more likely to score and they made it 2-0 with just three minutes left.

Hogan Ephraim provided a low cross to the back post, where James Tomkins was waiting. The young defender, making just his second Reserve team appearance, powered his finish into the roof of the net.

Fulham pulled a goal back less than a minute later, a fine solo effort from Alex Lawless making it 2-1, and Bywater was forced to make a fine save from Malik Buari as the seconds ticked away to protect West Ham's advantage.

But protect it they did, securing a fine 2-1 win and making it six games unbeaten for Kevin Keen's men.

Sadly, Hogan Ephraim was stretchered off the pitch in the final minute with ligament damage caused by a heavy collision.

WHU: Bywater; Henry, Brevett, Cohen, Tomkins, Stokes, Chadwick, Williams (Bunce 78), Reid, Ashikodi, Ephraim (Pearson 90). Subs unused: Andrews, Kuciak (GK), Cowley, Welsh.