Keen encouraged by reserve display

Reserve team coach Kevin Keen was full of praise for his players after their 1-1 draw against Fulham on Monday evening.

Hammers were left deflated after a stoppage-time equaliser denied them all three points following Niclas Jensen's 64th-minute own goal at Dagenham and Redbridge, but Keen insisted on taking the positives from a lively and entertaining encounter against the Cottagers.

"Obviously we are disappointed to have conceded a goal late on," he said, "but the overriding feeling for me after the game was one of pride, because of how well our youngsters played, and the quality they showed at times.

"We had a 15-year-old schoolboy, Robbie Blackwell, playing at left-back, and he put in a tremendous display, while two more schoolboys came on in the second half and gave a good account of themselves.

"It also helped to have some senior players alongside them and, although Shaun Newton and Clive Clarke had to come off at half-time, both of those guys played well. Carl Fletcher showed what a top professional he is, while Elliott Ward was also very solid at the back.

"In attack, Hogan Ephraim and Kyel Reid showed some real quality and, if it hadn't been for their goalkeeper making some terrific saves, we would have won the game in the first half.

"I'm just pleased that the players showed such a fantastic attitude and approached the game in the right manner. It would have been nice to win, of course, but at this stage of the season we are looking for the youngsters to make a case for themselves looking forward to the next campaign, and there were a lot of encouraging signs tonight."