Hammers Reserves Hold Leicester

WEST Ham United Reserves stretched their unbeaten run to three games with a 2-2 draw at Leicester City.

Kevin Keen named a strong team for the trip to the Midlands, including nine players with first-team experience in his startling line-up.

But on a wet and cold evening at Hinkley United, those resources were depleted after just 10 minutes when defender James Collins limped off, to be replaced by Liam White.

The first-half struggled to burst into life, with the two teams all but cancelling each other out.

The same could certainly not be said about the second-half. From the re-start both sides showed renewed determination.

It was Leicester going close, with two fine long-range efforts from the boot of Alan Sheehan, one a free-kick that went in but was quickly ruled out and the second a stunning effort that cracked against the under-side of the bar before bouncing out.

The home side finally took the lead on 64 minutes when Ashley Chambers, a school-boy star at the Walkers Stadium who is only 15-years-old, slotted past substitute goalkeeper Matt Reed to make it 1-0 to Leicester.

Hammers responded by raising their game almost instantly. They were level just four minutes later when a corner caused havoc in the Leicester penalty area and Elliott Ward rolled the ball to Hoga Ephraim, who fired home to make it 1-1.

Kevin Keen's men were in their stride and took the lead on 71 minutes. A fine run from Gavin Williams set up the chance, his low cross finding substitute Ishmael Welsh, who slotted home to make it 2-1 to West Ham United.

The final 15 minutes of the game saw Leicester throwing everything at the Hammers to find an equaliser. But instead they found a red card on 86 minutes when full-back Liam Norvel was sent off for reacting badly to a challenge from midfielder David Cowley.

Still Leicester were not finished and in the final minute of the game that man Sheehan finally found a goal with one of his spectacular efforts.

The dead-ball specialist curled home a 30 yard free-kick to snatch the three points away from Kevin Keen's men as the spoils were shared between Hammers and the Foxes.

WHU: Hislop (Reed 45); Henry, Clarke, Collins (White 10), Ward, Cohen, Bellion (Welsh 65), Cowley, Stokes, Ephraim, Williams. Subs unused: Jeffery, Andrews.

By Tony Fowles, Ironworks Gazette