Fulham too strong for reserves

West Ham United Reserves 0-2 Fulham Reserves

Alex Dyer's reserve side ended their long run of home wins with defeat to Fulham at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday.

A quiet opening period was bought to life when Zoltan Gera opened the scoring for the visitors nine minutes before half time. Fulham striker Wayne Brown ensured an away win with their second just before the hour mark.

The match began in a cautious manner with both teams seeming reluctant to attack although Julian Gray did test Marek Stech with a shot that the Czech youth international did well to palm around the post. The visitors seemed lifted and only the alert defending of Jonathan Spector and captain James Tomkins kept several attacks at bay.

As the half wore on the Hammers began to settle, though, finding the rhythm that had served them so well at home this season. The strike pairing of Freddie Sears and Jack Jeffery were starting to threaten and only a crucial interception from Fulham captain Chris Smalling prevented a Walter Lopez cross from reaching Sears.

Moments later it was Jeffery's turn to get involved as Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale completely misjudged a backpass to leave the United No9 with what looked like a certain goal. However, just as he was poised to shoot, Smalling intervened to make his second vital clearance in the space of five minutes.

Fulham then took the lead on 36 minutes when Gera - one of six full internationals playing in white - beat Stech with a low right-footed drive from 20 yards. Two minutes later Kieron Dyer was replaced by England Under-19 international Jordan Spence in reserve team manager Alex Dyer's first change of the night. United nearly levelled with the last attack of the half when Luis Boa Morte - who had enjoyed an excellent opening period - played Lopez down the left and his smart cross was cleared from danger by Toni Kallio. It was to be the last action of fairly subdued first half.

The Hammers were full of running in the opening exchanges after the interval but just seemed to lack that bit of luck in final third. Their frustration was compounded as Fulham doubled their advantage 13 minutes into the second period. A cross from the right was controlled on the chest superbly by Brown, who then evaded his marker before firing low and hard past the stranded Stech.

Fulham sought to hang onto their lead by bringing on Matthew Saunders for Leon Andreasen on the hour and Dyer responded by swapping Tom Harvey for Zavon Hines, who was making his first appearance since recovering from a knee injury.

The visitors continued to stifle everything United threw at them and the game was threatening to meander to its conclusion despite the home side's best efforts. Alex Dyer played his final card by bringing on Bondz 'Gala for Holmar Eyjolfsson as the Hammers fought to keep their 100 per cent home record in tact.

With eight minutes remaining Sears nearly pulled one back, but his shot following a darting run was blocked behind by a Fulham defender. From the resulting corner, Spector's flicked effort crept just wide. There was just enough time for one last incident involving the American international as he tumbled down in the area, but the referee ruled no penalty.

It was to be the final chance for United, who lose their 100 per cent record, but Alex Dyer and his players can heart from the committed performance of all in a claret and blue shirt tonight and they will be looking to get back to winning ways during the trip to Stoke City in two weeks' time.

West Ham United: Stech, Spector, Lopez, Eyjolfsson ('Gala 70), Tomkins, Dyer (Spence 38), Mullins, Harvey (Hines 61), Jeffrey, Sears, Boa Morte
Subs not used: Loveday, Miller