Sears strikes at Thurrock

Thurrock FC 0-3 West Ham United XI

Zavon Hines and Freddie Sears were amongst the goals as West Ham United ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Thurrock at Ship Lane in Saturday afternoon's pre-season friendly.

A second penalty in a week from Hines - and his third goal in three matches - scored in the first half was added by a strike from Sears in the second and an own goal from Thurrock soon after rounded out the scoring. It was the first game back following the summer break for both Matthew Upson and Sears who got some welcome match action under their belts ahead of the new campaign. The England defender was captain for the day and Sears was back in a West Ham United shirt less than a week after returning from duty with the England U-19's.

It was a lively first half which saw both teams go on the attack from the start. The home side sent a few crosses in to test West Ham United keeper Marek Stech early on - the young keeper showing his growing confidence in goal, by dealing comfortably with everything. Stech made a superb double-save late in the half to deny Thurrock a goal, saving first with his feet and then blocking the rebound shot. Sears had linked up well with Hines and it was the latter who was brought down on the quarter hour mark by Thurrock's Kenny Clark and the referee immediately pointed to the spot with a quarter of an hour played.

Hines followed up his spot-kick winner against Billericay last Saturday by making no mistake again. West Ham United soon had other chances to go further in front, Jack Jeffrey sending a curling shot just wide and Anthony Edgar putting in a good cross only for it to be cleared in the box. Tom Harvey also went close just before half-time. The second half saw an unchanged West Ham United side sent out by Keen and on 51 minutes they got a deserved second goal.

The ever-lively Sears got away from his marker with a jinking run and calmly slotted the ball into the net. On 64 minutes, the visitors got a third - after Sears had once again put the home defence under pressure in the box. Thurrock defender Clark tried to clear but only succeeded in striking the ball against his own keeper and ball bounced straight into the back of the net. At the back, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson put in a sterling effort - getting up well throughout the match to  repeatedly deny Thurrock on his first appearance. Alongside him, the experienced Upson led by example with an accomplished display before being replaced on 75 minutes by Oliver Lee.

West Ham United made two other changes in the second half, Matthew Fry and Daniel Kearns coming on for Edgar and Tony Brookes. Thurrock kept going as they looked for a consolation - making runs to edge of the box and shooting for goal whenever the opportunity arose. West Ham United were always a threat and could have had a fourth when Lee sent in a swerving cross for Kearns to meet, only for the Northern Irish youth international to strike wide. It was another good work out for Kevin Keen's men and a well deserved victory.

West Ham United: Marek Stech, Ryan O'Neill, Tony Brooks (Kearns), Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Matthew Upson (Lee 75), Tom Harvey, Zavon Hines, Josh Payne, Jack Jeffrey, Freddie Sears, Anthony Edgar (Fry).
Sub not used: Conor Okus