Reserves Hit Four Past Ipswich

WEST Ham United Reserves ran out comprehensive 4-0 winners against Ipswich Town at Upton Park, with first-half goals from Tony Stokes, Jeremie Aliadiere, Petr Mikolanda and Christian Dailly securing a win for Kevin Keen's men.

There were three changes to the advertised team, Stokes coming into midfield for Carl Fletcher and Kyel Reid playing in place of Clive Clarke. Liam White came in on the bench.

It was the strongest Reserve team of the season for the Hammers, with eight of the side boasting first-team experience. Indeed, four of the team had played in the 1-0 win over Preston in the Play-off Final at the Millennium Stadium.

On a warm and bright evening at Upton Park it was Ipswich who started the brighter, Darryl Knights volleying against the bar from 12 yards out inside two minutes.

The game was played at a lively tempo in the opening salvos, and it wasn't long before Hammers had made a much more significant mark on the match.

On six minutes a moment of pure genius from young midfielder Tony Stokes opened the scoring for West Ham. The Academy graduate pounced on the ball 25 yards out and with no one closing him down unleashed a wicked volley that dipped past the helpless Shane Supple in the Ipswich goal as it curled into the top corner of the net.

With quarter of an hour gone Shaka Hislop, making his return to competitive action with the Hammers, pulled off a great block to keep Ipswich out. Dean McDonald hit a rasping shot on the turn from just inside the area but the big goalkeeper was equal to it, diving to his right to parry the ball away.

On 24 minutes Petr Mikolanda came within inches of making it two, receiving the ball from Mark Noble on the edge of the box and hitting a first time shot with the outside of his left foot that wrong-footed Supple but spun just wide of the post.

On the half hour mark Ipswich saw another great chance to equalise thwarted by Hislop. Danny Haynes got the better of James Collins on the edge of the six yard box after chasing a long ball and shot low, but Hislop did well to push the ball away.

With the ball loose in the box Haynes went in again, but Elliott Ward was there as well and the big defender slid in to make an excellent challenge.

But Hammers were definitely in the ascendancy and they made their dominance count two minutes later by making it 2-0. Kyel Reid whipped in a cross from the left and when Supple was deceived by the bounce and missed the ball, new signing Jeremie Aliadiere was on hand at the back post to rifle home his first goal in claret and blue.

Meanwhile, Hislop was proving something of an immovable obstacle at the other end. Again he pulled off a great save to deny Ipswich, this time flinging up a giant hand to push away a viscious Matt Richards shot.

At the other end though, Hammers were proving far more clinical. With nine minuts left until half-time a corner from Noble was headed into the danger zone by Ward and when Aliadiere's back header came off the bar, Petr Mikolanda - the Czech striker who secured a contract after impressing on trial at the Club - stabbed home from close range to make it 3-0.

Two minutes before half-time Hammers made it four as Ipswich wilted in the face of the home side's potent attacking play. It was the simplest of routine's, Noble's corner again precise with Dailly arriving on the end of it to head powerfully past Supple and send the teams in for the break with West Ham United holding a comfortable 4-0 lead.

HT: 4-0

Hammers began in the second-half right where they left off in the first, Reid breaking away down the left and crossing to an unmarked Aliadiere. But this time it was a let off for Ipswich as the Frenchman blazed his shot over the bar.

Ipswich were beginning to fight their way back into the game however, showing some neat movement in and around the Hammers defence.

With the hour mark approaching Kyel Reid was replaced with his England Under-19 team-mate Hogan Ephraim.

On 64 minutes Hislop's palms were stung by another well-struck volley from Richards 20 yards out, but Hammers were otherwise dealing comfortably with the visitors' attack.

Five minutes later Aliadiere showed excellent awareness to intercept a short Ipswich back pass, but although he rounded Supple the angle was too tight and his effort floated harmlessly over the crossbar.

On 72 minutes Christian Dailly found himself in the book after a scuffle broke out on the far touchline as the midfielder clashed with Chris Casement.

Moments later the Scottish international lofted a shot over the bar after receiving a touch back from Aliadiere on the edge of the box.

Hislop made another comfortable stop from Knights' low drive with ten minutes remaining, before making a far more spectacular shot from McDonald.

The Ipswich striker escaped the attentions of Chris Cohen and hit a screaming shot on the angle from 12 yards that Hislop did well to beat away diving to his right.

Jemel Henry replaced Mikolanda on 82 minutes and James Tomkins came on for Aliadiere four minutes later, with West Ham United's three points more than secure.

The action was limited over the closing stages, but Hammers more than deserved their emphatic 4-0 victory and a valuable win in the Premier Reserve League South.

WHU: Hislop; Newton, Cohen, Collins, Ward, Dailly, Noble, Stokes, Mikolanda (Henry 82), Aliadiere (Tomkins 86), Reid (Ephraim 59). Subs Unused: White, Reed (GK).
Scorers: Stokes 6, Aliadiere 32, Mikolanda 36, Dailly 43.
Booked: Dailly 72.