Hammers Hit Five Past Watford

WEST Ham United Reserves ended the season on a high, beating Watford 5-2 in a feast of attacking football at Upton Park.

Two superb strikes from Sergei Rebrov were complimented by goals from Luke Chadwick, Tony Stokes and Moses Ashikodi as Kevin Keen's men ran out comfortable winners in their final FA Premier Reserve League game of the season.

Hammers took to the field with their most experienced Reserve team of the season, and it was a great sight to see the likes of Christian Dailly and Don Hutchison back in a West Ham United shirt after a frustrating time with injuries this season.

Malky Mackay was another making his comeback from injury, while two changes to the advertised teamsheet saw Tommy Laws and Tony Stokes play instead of Ryan Andrews and Chris Cohen.

The class of Kevin Keen's men was immediately evident as the Hammers began to knock the ball around with aplomb. But it was a Watford player who presented the first problem for the visitors with a ghastly touch that looped up and struck the Hornets crossbar.

At the other end, seven minutes had gone before Ben Gill drove at the West Ham defence and let fly with a drive that was saved comfortably by Stephen Bywater.

Hammers hit back in the best possible way taking the lead on 11 minutes when Luke Chadwick finished off a sweeping move that was started by a great Gavin Williams through ball and laid on by Sergei Rebrov's square pass.

Five minutes later Chadwick's shot from 12 yards tested Watford goalkeeper David Scarfella, while for Watford Junior Osborne surged forward from right-back, but his 25 yard effort flew well wide of Bywater's goal.

Just a minute later Hammers made it 2-0. The goal came straight from the West Ham United Academy, with Laws sending in a deep cross from the right that was headed home by Tony Stokes.

Kevin Keen's men continued to attack, Don Hutchison and Carl Fletcher both seeing long range efforts dip wide, before a terrible mix up between Christain Dailly and Stephen Bywater let Watford back in it.

Bywater came out to deal with a ball over the top, but could only collide with Dailly allowing the determined Jason Norville to win possession and roll the ball into the unguarded net to make it 2-1.

It was a frustrating end to what had been an excellent first-half for the Hammers, with the home side leading 2-1 at the interval.

HT: 2-1

The second-half began with Moses Ashikodi replacing Malky Mackay and Carl Fletcher dropping back into central defence.

Watford looked rejuvenated after pulling a goal back and came out fighting, Gill resting Bywater with a shot from distance. But Hammers were creating chances too and Chadwick should have done better with a header from five yards out, but he put the chance wide from Rufus Brevett's cross.

The rangey figure of Folawiyo Onibuje broke through for Watford only to put his shot over, before Hammers made it 3-1 on 59 minutes.

A wonderful cross-field pass from Fletcher set Gavin Williams away and his cut-back was dumied by Ashikodi for Sergei Rebrov who tucked away his second goal in consecutive Reserve outings with a fine finish.

Ashikodi and Williams both put chances wide as a rampant Hammers began to tear into Watford, but on 62 minutes their progress was slowed with the withdraw of Dailly for Liam White. The Scottish international could be pleased with his hour's work though, his first since September last year.

On 77 minutes Hammers made it 4-1. Ashikodi's exquisite touch released Chadwick, who in turn picked out the strong running forward as he powered into the box, Ashikodi dispatching the finish in typically clinical fashion from close range.

Hammers were not finished though and four minutes later added a fifth. Tommy Laws' slide-rule pass released Ashikodi and he turned it back to Rebrov on the edge of the area who hit a wonderful shot that curled well out of Scarfella's reach.

Watford fought gallantly to the end and substitute Andrew Chapman's rasping drive forced an excellent save out of Bywater late on.

From the resulting corner, though, Bywater was the villian rather than the hero spilling the cross to allow Paul Mayo to score and make it 5-2.

Kevin Keen's men were dominant right up to the final whistle, Ashikodi seeing a late effort saved by Scarfella and Rebrov sending a venemous shot just wide. 

Nevertheless they ended the season on a great note with a 5-2 victory that marked their nineth successive game unbeaten - a fantastic way for Kevin Keen's men to round off the 2004/05 campaign.

WHU: Bywater; Laws, Brevett, Dailly (White 62), Mackay (Ashikodi 45), Fletcher, Chadwick, Hutchison, Rebrov, Williams, Stokes. Subs unused: Kuciak (GK), Cowley, Reid.
Goalscorers: Chadwick 11, Stokes 16, Rebrov 59, 81, Ashikodi 77

Watford: Scarfella; Osbourne, Mayo, Gill, Mariappa, Smith, Grant (Coleman 73), Norville, Onibuje (Chapman 80), Diagouraga, McNamee. Subs unused: Kirk, Homand, Frost.
Goalscorers: Norville 43, Mayo 89