Hammers Hold Ipswich

HOGAN Ephraim's second-half goal and an excellent display from goalkeeper Jimmy Walker have helped Hammers Reserves draw 1-1 with Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

Fielding senior players like Walker, Rufus Brevett and Hayden Mullins Hammers began the game brightly.

But Ipswich could boast some impressive fire-power of their own, with Pablo Counago and James Scowcroft leading the line for the Tractor Boys.

With 24 minutes gone it was Counago that put Ipswich ahead, some poor defending from the Hammers allowing the striker to beat Walker with a cool finish.

West Ham went in 1-0 down at half-time, but it could have been a lot worse had Walker not been in fine form. The goalkeeper made a string of brilliant first-half saves to keep Kevin Keen's men in the game.

West Ham came out for the second-half with their determination renewed. With Mullins and Danny Bunce moving the ball well in midfield Hammers began to carve out some chances of their own.

It took until the 63rd minute for their first real effort on goal, but what an effort it was, a stunning left-foot volley from England Under-17 star Hogan Ephraim making it 1-1. Ephraim celebrated his first Reserve goal, while Kevin Keen celebrated his side's third game unbeaten.

He said afterwards: "It was a decent game. In the first-half Ipswich put a lot of pressure on us and Jimmy Walker had an outstanding game, making some great saves to keep us in it.

"We conceded a sloppy goal from our point of view, but that aside I think our defence was excellent. Tommy Laws and Jemel Henry were outstanding in central defence. Jemel has been playing at right-back for the last 18 months now, so to move back into the centre was a test for him, especially against a very strong Ipswich attack.

"In the second-half we stepped up a gear, got amongst them a bit more and started creating a lot more chances. Hogan scored a super goal and we were pleased to come away with a draw.

"Hayden and Rufus added a bit more experience to the side, and there were some good performances from our players."

WHU: Walker; McClenahan, Brevett, Laws, Henry, Stokes, Allen (Cowley 64), Mullins, Pearson, Ephraim (Andrews 84), Bunce. Subs unused: Kuciak (GK), Welsh, White, Davidson.

Courtesy Tony Fowles, Ironworks Gazette