Reserves battle in vain at Ipswich

The reserve team were beaten 2-0 by Ipswich Town in a rearranged fixture on Friday evening.

In a closely fought encounter at Ipswich's Needham Market ground, Kevin Keen's young side battled bravely and were unfortunate to lose to goals from Keiran Leabon and Ed Upson.

With the first team in action at Wigan Athletic tomorrow, it was virtually a Hammers youth team that took the field against the Tractor Boys, and only goalkeeper Stephen Bywater and young striker Hogan Ephraim possessed previous senior experience.

The evening started in disappointment for the visitors, as Leabon gave Ipswich the lead after just four minutes, but the young Hammers fought back and enjoyed their fair share of possession without managing to create any clear-cut chances in front of goal.

Exciting young winger Kyel Reid almost conjured up something special with several inviting crosses in the second half, but still Hammers couldn't find the all-important equaliser, and the hosts broke away on the counter-attack in the final minute to make sure of all three points with a second goal through Upson.

Coach Kevin Keen said afterwards: "I'm bitterly disappointed for the lads, because they worked so hard, gave such great effort, and deserved to get something out of the game tonight.

"It was a difficult test for us, on a bobbly pitch and against a more experienced side, but the players gave their all and, althought it would be unfair to say that we controlled the game, I certainly thought we had more of the attacking play.

"Every single one of the players showed real heart and grit, and our performance was epitomised by captain Darren Blewitt, who picked up a knee injury midway through the second half and should really have come off, but insisted on playing on and showed great attitude and desire for the team.

"Darren is a West Ham fan through and through - he watches the first team home and away every week - and tonight it was clear to see just how much he cares about the Club."

Team: Bywater; Henry, White, Blewitt, Widdowson; Reid, Collison, Cowley, Welsh (Hines 80); Jeffery (Fraye 70), Ephraim. Subs unused: Andrews, Kemal, Hales.