Reserves 0-1 Portsmouth FT

Barclays Premier Reserve League South
Portsmouth v West Ham United
West Leigh Park, Havant and Waterlooville FC
Tuesday 21 April


Full-time - Portsmouth reserves 1-0 West Ham United reserves

94 mins - GOAL! Portsmouth have a late chance in the shape of a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Mahoto curls the ball over the wall but Kurucz sinks to his knees to gather the ball cleanly. Seconds later Gekas breaks the Hammers' hearts by taking a touch and smashing the ball past the Hungarian into the far corner from the edge of the penalty area. That is a real sickener for the visitors. They really did not deserve that at all. Seconds later, the final whistle is blown.

91 mins - Hines misses another great chance. He latches on to Montano's clever flick-on but Wilkinson gets in a superb block.

90 mins - We are into the final minute of the 90 and the game looks to be heading towards a goalless conclusion. There will be three added minutes.

87 mins - West Ham should have just won the game! Instead, captain Hines could only drag his left-foot shot wide of the far post from 15 yards. He should have hit the target, at least.

82 mins - Eyjolfsson is the third Hammers' defender to be booked after bringing down Gekas five yards outside the penalty area. The Greek takes the free-kick himself and the ball curls just wide of the target with Kurucz scampering across his goal.

80 mins - Into the final ten minutes and still no goals. Will West Ham finish their season on a high by grabbing a late winner?

75 mins - Miller is replaced by Jordan Brown. The teenager is making his debut at reserve team level.

72 mins - Ciftci makes an almost immediate the wrong end. The winger gifts the ball to Lee, who threads a fine ball through to Hines, only for the striker to see his shot blocked by the legs of Ashdown. Portsmouth break straight up the other end, where Gekas forces Kurucz to tip his rising shot from 20 yards over the crossbar. West Ham eventually clear the danger.

71 mins - Portsmouth make a double change. Nadir Ciftci is on for Pablo Navas Alors, while Daniel Bogard is on for Nlundulu.

68 mins - Dyer has striker Ahmed Abdulla on his bench. I wonder if the Under-18 player will be given a chance to become the match-winner?

66 mins - A loose clearance falls to Lee, but he can only drive a left-foot shot wide from 20 yards. The game continues to ebb and flow, but neither side looks like breaking the deadlock at the present time.

65 mins - Barrett is booked for hauling back Mahoto. He becomes the second Hammer to see yellow after Miller. Mahoto floats the ball over and Kurucz flaps at it, but the Hungarian recovers well to claim Pack's hooked cross into the six-yard box.

64 mins - Miller takes an age to clear his lines and is robbed by Gekas. Mahoto works the ball wide to Nlundulu, who crosses. The Greek striker goes down under a challenge from Fry but referee Long gives just a corner as Barrett nods the ball behind. Nlundulu crosses and Kurucz spills the ball, but he was being fouled.

62 mins - The goalmouth action has been a bit thin on the ground since half-time. Let's hope things liven up during the final half-hour.

60 mins - Hines skips past Tero Mantyla with ease but then completely wastes the chance by driving the ball behind the goal from an acute angle. Surely he would have been better served in pulling the ball back into the danger area instead?

57 mins - Georg Grasser wins a fine tackle in the midfield. The Austrian is having a quietly effective game tonight.

55 mins - Kearns does well to win the ball in midfield, but when it is worked back to him by Montano, he launches his cross way in front of the on-rushing West Ham attackers and it is claimed easily by Ashdown.

53 mins - Hines wins a free-kick off Pack. Kearns curls the ball into the penalty area but it is too low and is easily cleared.

50 mins - Montano has gone up front with Hines, who is cutting a bit of a frustrated figure.

48 mins - Lee forces Ashdown into an acrobatic save. The goalkeeper pushes the ball behind for a corner, but the shot looked as if it was going wide anyway.

46 mins - West Ham make a half-time change, with Cristian Montano replacing Bajner. Portsmouth start well, but Gekas can only head the ball into the ground from Nlundulu's cross and it is safely gathered by Kurucz.

Half-time - Portsmouth reserves 0-0 West Ham United reserves

47 mins - More assured handling from Kurucz, who stretches to pluck Blackman's deep cross out of the air after the left-back had got past Barrett. West Ham end the half by winning another free-kick down the left flank. Kearns takes but the ball is easily headed clear by Pack and the half-time whistle is blown.

45 mins - West Ham are finishing the half very strongly. The lively Miller nips in again and sees his powerful shot loop off Hurst and out for another Kearns corner. The Northern Irish youth international crosses and the ball is cleared back to him. Kearns beats his marker and curls the ball into the danger-zone where four Hammers are being kept company by only three defenders. Despite their numerical advantage, Bajner can only scuff his left-foot shot too close to Ashdown. That was a real chance. There will be two added minutes.

43 mins - West Ham think they have taken the lead through Lee, but the goal is ruled out for offside. Bajner had forced a corner on the left, Kearns swung the ball into the box but when Fry hooked the ball goalwards, Lee was behind the last defender when he poked the ball past Ashdown from close-range.

42 mins - Nick Barrett concedes possession inside the West Ham half, but Hurst can only launch his shot out of the stadium.

41 mins - West Ham are threatening again. Miller wins another good challenge inside the Pompey half and the ball breaks to Bajner, who lobs it over Blackman into the path of Hines, but the striker's volley is mis-hit and bounces harmlessly through to Ashdown.

40 mins - A crowd of 257 is watching Hines jink outside of his marker and fire another shot across the face of Ashdown's goal. The ball flies out for a throw-in.

37 mins - James Hurst is the latest Portsmouth player to be frustrated, seeing his shot cannon off Miller and behind for a corner. Kurucz claims Hurst's corner and launches a swift counter-attack. Hines finds space on the right side of the penalty area and crosses. The ball is cleared and Miller picks up possession, cuts inside a challenge and lets fly with his unfavoured right foot, the ball dribbling narrowly wide of the left-hand post.

36 mins - While things may have dried up on the attacking front, Eyjolfsson and Fry have both looked very assured against Gekas and Mahoto, who is playing in a slightly withdrawn role. As I write that, Mahoto goes close again, screwing his volley over the top after Blackman had released Navas Alors down the left wing.

33 mins - Captain Hines gets a talking to from referee Simon Long after Kearns gives away a free-kick and the striker delays the taking of the set-piece.

31 mins - Play is held up while Lee receives treatment. He was hurt after an apparent clash of heads with fellow No4 Marlon Pack. West Ham's players take advantage of the break to grab a drink, while coach Dyer imparts some advice to his young troops.

30 mins - Portsmouth go close again, but Kurucz is able to watch Nlundulu's shot fly narrowly over his crossbar.

29 mins - If we were playing tennis here, West Ham would be committing the equivalent of unforced errors. Still, they are on level terms and well in this match.

27 mins - Ashley Miller becomes the first player booked for a late challenge on Blackman, who picked up a clearance on the halfway line and streaked forward 40 yards before being brought down by his opposite number. The foul hands Pompey a free-kick a yard outside the box. Nlundulu takes and Luke WIlkinson should bury his header from six yards, only to nod the ball straight into the arms of Kurucz.

25 mins - The Hammers are still giving possession away too easily in midfield. Portsmouth break from one errant pass and Andre Blackman forces a corner off Fry's head.

23 mins - The midway point of the first half has passed. West Ham started brightly but the home side are now in the ascendancy. Fry gets a bit lucky when his clearance hits Gekas, but the youngster reacts quicker than the Greek to clear.

22 mins - First team coach Steve Clarke, Academy director Tony Carr and goalkeeping coach Ludek Miklosko are all here tonight.

21 mins - The stadium we are at tonight, West Leigh Park, is of course home to FA Cup giant-killers Havant and Waterlooville, who scared the life out of Liverpool in the fourth round last season. West Ham force a corner, but Ashdown easily claims Kearns' centre.

18 mins - Mahoto should have scored there. After starting the move himself, the striker finds Gael Nlundulu on the right wing. The wideman crosses and the ball breaks back to Mahoto off Fry, but the forward can only smash his left-foot volley wide of the target from 14 yards. That was a let-off, no doubt about it.

16 mins - Both teams need to start taking better care of the ball. Too often, players are taking the difficult option instead of playing an easy pass to feet. Mahoto goes close for Portsmouth, firing his initial shot against Eyjolfsson before belting the loose ball a couple of yards wide of Kurucz's far post.

14 mins - Pompey have come back into the game now, but they are not doing much with their greater share of possession. For West Ham, Lee and Kearns are heavily involved. Right on cue, Lee sees a powerful long-range strike blocked by Primus' legs.

12 mins - Hines is captaining the side in the absence of Bondz 'Gala.

9 mins - Portsmouth win a corner down the right. It is taken short by Gautier Mahoto, who takes the ball back and takes on his marker before collapsing in a heap, much to the amusement of the crowd. Seconds later, he is up on his feet and running again. 

8 mins - Goalkeeper Peter Kurucz is wearing tracksuit bottoms under his shorts, but I think it has more to do with the hard, dry surface than the temperature!

6 mins - This is a good start from West Ham. Kearns' corner is cleared, but Hines wins another free-kick in a dangerous position. Ollie Lee crosses, but the ball is cleared to Edgar, who again sees his shot blocked.

5 mins - Edgar wins a free-kick wide on the left. The ball is only half-cleared twice and falls to Edgar, who skips around his marker but sees his left-foot shot well blocked behind for a corner.

4 mins - Great football from Daniel Kearns and Balint Bajner down the right ends with Anthony Edgar lifting the ball over the Pompey defence for Zavon Hines, but the striker can only drive his shot across the face of goal. That was a decent opening.

2 mins - A cagey start from both sides. Unsurprisingly, there is no rhythm to the game as yet.

7pm - And off we go!

6.59pm - The tune, I'm reliably informed, is called 'Portsmouth' and the version being played is by Mike Oldfield. Interesting, eh? We're going to kick-off now. Balint Bajner will do the honours.

6.58pm - The two teams run out to a strange nautical tune that must have something to do with Portsmouth's maritime tradition...

6.55pm - It has been an interesting season for the reserves. A number have players have graduated to first team duty after impressing for Dyer's team. From the side that played in the first game of the season at Chelsea, Junior Stanislas, Josh Payne, Freddie Sears and Jan Lastuvka have all gone on to play for Gianfranco Zola's side, while Bondz 'Gala and Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson have both travelled with the first team in recent weeks. Marek Stech, Tony Stokes, Joe Widdowson, Calum Davenport and Lee Bowyer, on loan at Wycombe Wanderers, Ujpest FC, Grimsby Town, Sunderland and Birmingham City respectively, have also been in second-string action this term, while senior players including Kieron Dyer, David Di Michele, James Collins, Jack Collison and Walter Lopez have also featured.

Away from home, the reserves have triumphed at Arsenal and Stoke City and drawn at Aston Villa so far, with home wins coming against West Bromwich Albion, Arsenal, Portsmouth, Chelsea and Stoke. Goals from David Di Michele and Kyel Reid saw off Pompey in the reverse fixture at the Boleyn Ground on 25 November.

6.45pm - West Ham's central defenders Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson and Matt Fry could be severely tested by Gekas tonight. Although he has only featured once as a substitute for Paul Hart's team, he was the top scorer in the Greek League in 2004/05, netting 17 goals for Kallithea and Panathinaikos, who he joined in January 2005. Perhaps even more impressively, he was the top scorer in the German Bundesliga in 2006/07, finding the net 20 times for relegation-threatened VfL Bochum. Gekas, 28, was also part of the Greece squad at the 2005 Confederations Cup and Euro 2008. He has 38 full international caps and has scored 14 goals for his country.

Forest Gate-born Primus is also vastly experienced, having played 423 league games during his career. The 35-year-old also walked the Great Wall of China in 2005 for the charity Faith and Football.

The other experienced member of the Portsmouth side is Ashdown, who has made 36 first team appearances for Pompey. The 28-year-old goalkeeper also picked up an FA Cup winner's medal last season, despite not appearing once in the club's successful run to Wembley.

6.35pm Alex Dyer's West Ham United reserve team complete their Barclays Premier Reserve League South campaign with a trip to sunny Portsmouth this evening. The Hammers go into the game in fourth place in the table, three points and one position above their hosts.

Dyer has named a relatively inexperienced side for tonight's game at Havant and Waterlooville FC's West Leigh Park home. Hungary Under-21 goalkeeper Peter Kurucz and striker Zavon Hines are the only non-teenagers in the side. Captain Bondz 'Gala misses out with an ankle injury, with Nick Barrett moving to right-back and Matthew Fry to the centre of the defence alongside Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson. Under-18 left-back Jordan Brown is named among the substitutes.

For Portsmouth Greek international striker Theofanis Gekas, who is on loan from German side Bayer Leverkusen, leads the home forward line, with former Barnet and Reading defender Linvoy Primus and ex-Reading goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown between the sticks.

It is a gorgeous evening on the south coast. Both teams are out on the pitch, which looks in superb shape, going through their pre-match warm-ups.

West Ham United Reserves: Kurucz, Barrett, Miller (Brown 75), Eyjolfsson, Fry, Kearns, Lee, Grasser, Edgar, Bajner (Montano 46), Hines
Subs: Street, Abdulla, McNaughton

Portsmouth Reserves: Ashdown, Mantyla, Blackman, Primus, Wilkinson, Nlundulu (Bogard 71), Pack, Hurst, Navas Alors (Ciftci 71), Gekas, Mahoto
Subs: Stewart, Gazet du Chattelier, Ryan