Nouble prize on debut

Frank Nouble made it a debut to remember with a last-minute winner as a West Ham United XI won by the odd goal in five at Thurrock on Friday night.

The 17-year-old striker only signed in midweek but was quickly in the groove in his first outing in West Ham colours. He kept his cool to score from Cristian Montano's killer pass after the hosts had seemingly earned a draw through David Knight. It was Nouble's first game of pre-season, having only had a double training session with his new club the day before the fixture, but he still managed the full 90 minutes.


Irish youth international Eoin Wearen, still only 16, had headed the Hammers in front with eleven minutes to play after Phil Anderson had scored the first goal of the game and triallist Sebastian Huke had equalised on the half-hour mark. It was an entertaining contest at the Ship Lane home of the non-league club who were often on top and looked perhaps the more likely in the closing stages.

Huke, a German youth international colleague of Savio's, began in a three-man attack also featuring the excellent Cristian Montano and Nouble. All eyes were on the latter though because of his switch this week from Chelsea and he did not disappoint with some good bursts of pace and neat touches in the opening stages. The youthful Hammers team were also reliant on the experience of Calum Davenport and Nigel Quashie, who was captain for the night.

Reserve-team manager Alex Dyer also gave a run-out to Andrea Zola, the son of the manager, with the midfielder getting the first 45 minutes before making way for triallist Simone Bezzicherri. Huke only lasted 38 minutes as a stray elbow meant an early substitution and chance for 17-year-old Ahmed Abdulla who was to prove pivotal to the Hammers attack in the second half.

Dyer is set to take a Hammers XI to Kingstonian next Friday night, with all those on view perhaps hoping to stake a claim for a spot in the glamour pre-season friendly against SSC Napoli on Saturday 8 August. The first-team squad are heading to China this coming week for the Barclays Asia Trophy - starting with a derby date against Tottenham Hotspur at the Beijing Workers Stadium on Wednesday 29 July.