Reserves lose out against Fulham

West Ham United's reserve team may have suffered a seventh defeat of the season against Fulham on Tuesday evening, but coach Steve Brown remains upbeat about getting some results on board soon.

On a bitterly cold night at Bishop's Stortford, a second half double strike from Bjorn Runstrom earned the visitors all three points and ensured that Hammers remain bottom of the FA Premier Reserve League South.

Speaking after the game, Brown said: "I was very pleased with our commitment in the first half and although we didn't create much, the lads were pushing hard and felt if we could carry on we could get something.

"But with the likes of Claus Jensen in their team, who was getting more and more into the game, Fulham started to look stronger. While we were still trying hard to create something, it seemed to break down in the final third and it was disappointing to concede the goals we did."

Hammers fielded Mark Noble, Shaun Newton, Tyrone Mears and John Pantsil along with a mix of young academy players, including James Tomkins, who was making his first appearance for the reserves since returning from a shoulder injury, while Fulham had a strong line-up featuring first-teamers Claus Jensen, Gabriel Zakuani and Tony Warner.

Both sides had a quiet start to the game with much of the action being had in midfield. Newton and Noble were in the middle of West Ham's movements and Freddie Sears was unlucky not to have got on the end of some through-balls.

The second half saw more battles in midfield once again and while West Ham worked hard, it was Fulham who found the breakthrough in the 67th minute. A long ball into the box deceived Hammers keeper Marek Stech but just as it looked to have been kept out by a last-ditch clearance from Tomkins on the post, the ball bounced back out and was met by Runstrom, who struck it in to the net.

West Ham's chances were mostly long-range shots, with Noble and Pantsil trying their luck and, while Newton made attacking runs in to the box, Hammers could not make more of the final ball. Fulham wrapped up the points in the 80th minute, when Runstrom was on target again, this time heading home a cross.

Brown said: "We had a very young team out there, against a Fulham team who have played together on a regular basis. I haven't had that luxury, I was pleased to have some senior boys out there, but it has been so long since we last had a game that the team I put out hasn't played that much together, so it's been hard.

"The first goal was disappointing for us, although James did well to block the initial first shot. And then to concede late on again is something I told the lads they have to learn from - that the game is about 90 minutes. I felt we perhaps put our heads down a bit and that led to Fulham getting their second.

"But I was pleased with the work-rate again so that is something we can take a lot from. The lads were down about the result but it's all about putting it behind us again and I feel that, with another push, we can start to get the results."

Hammers: Stech, Mears, Pantsil, Collison, Tomkins (Spence), Ngala, Newton (Fitzgerald), Noble, Jeffery (Hunt), Sears, Stanislas. Subs Unused: Hales, O'Neill

By Laura Burkin