Ljungberg debut in Dons defeat

West Ham United slipped to a 3-2 defeat against MK Dons in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday evening.

Following Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Leyton Orient, Hammers boss Alan Curbishley named an entirely different starting 11 for the clash against Paul Ince's team, as new signing Freddie Ljungberg made a solid debut and the likes of Craig Bellamy, Danny Gabbidon and Matthew Upson got through the entire 90 minutes.

After a lively start at the League Two outfit's brand new stadium, the hosts took the lead on 12 minutes when an effort from midfielder Mark Wright crossed the line before Richard Wright or Christian Dailly could manage to clear.

Just four minutes later, though, Hammers were level when the impressive Luis Boa Morte crossed from the left and a clever dummy from Craig Bellamy allowed Ephraim to fire home.

And just moments later, it was 2-1 to the visitors, with Boa Morte again the provider - this time whipping in a dangerous free-kick from the right that goalkeeper Luke Steele could only palm out to Upson, who stabbed in his first goal for the Club.

Hammers were largely in control for the remainder of the half, without troubling Steele again, and it was MK Dons who came closest to finding the net on a break-away attack, when Knight fired just inches wide.

Six minutes after the interval, the hosts did equalise - and in controversial fashion. Referee Trevor Kettle had Hammers' tempers boiling as he harshly adjudged Spector to have barged Broughton in the penalty area, and captain Andrews stepped up to slam the spot-kick past Wright.

Five minutes later, Ljungberg came close to celebrating his debut with a goal, as his low snap-shot was kept out by Steele, and just after the hour mark Alan Curbishley sent on youngster Tony Stokes in place of the Swedish midfielder - who had only tasted 45 minutes of pre-season action with Arsenal before arriving at Upton Park.

That was Hammers' only tactical substitution of the night - part of the manager's plans to give all the majority of his senior players their first 90 minutes of the pre-season build-up - while Ince made several changes midway through the second half.

The fresher legs eventually told, as Dons grabbed a winner with just 15 minutes remaining. Substitute McKoy raced down the right, and cut the ball back for Knight, who stroked the ball beyond Wright from eight yards out.

MK Dons: Steele (Abbey 73), Edds (Howell 73), Lewington (Stirling 73), Andrews (McKoy 73), Murphy (O'Hanlon 52), Diallo, Wright (McGovern 52), Broughton, Knight, Cameron (Morris 60), Dyer.

West Ham United: Wright; Spector, Collins, Upson, Gabbidon; Ljungberg (Stokes 66), Dailly, Collison, Boa Morte (Jeffery 90); Ephraim, Bellamy. Subs unused: Stech, Hines, Fitzgerald, Hales.

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Att: 9,610