So long to Hong Kong

West Ham United were runners-up in the Shield competition held at the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament this weekend with Alex Dyer more than content with how his youngsters fared.

Dyer's youthful squad had qualified for the quarter-final of the main Cup competition after their strong showing on Saturday. However, they were beaten 2-1 in a close-fought match by Scottish side Rangers that featured a Nick Barrett equaliser and therefore moved straight into the Shield competition for the other beaten quarter-finalists from the main Cup.

The Hammers, skippered by Bondz 'Gala, quickly bounced back with a 2-0 defeat of Eastleigh, thanks to goals from Danny Kearns and Ashley Miller, which moved them into the final against local side Citizen. After a closely-fought contest that saw the sides frustrated by some resilient defending and both fail to score, the game went to penalties.

In the shoot-out, the local side came out on top 4-3 to claim the Shield after Conor Okus missed from the spot having seen Edgar, Miller and Kearns all convert. Peter Kurucz, the highly-rated Hungary Under-21 goalkeeper on loan from Ujpesti with a view to a permanent transfer, was unable to save any of the four Citizen spot-kicks.

Despite the defeat, West Ham matched last year's effort by finishing sixth in the overall reckoning of the competition with Rangers, their conquerors in the Cup competition, going on to lose 1-0 in the Cup final to old rivals Celtic. It was still a very creditable performance, particularly as the Hammers side were all teenagers with the exception of Kurucz, who turned 21 on Saturday.

Dyer said: "After getting knocked out of the quarter-final of the main Cup, we picked ourselves up to get through to the Shield final against an experienced local team called Citizen. We only just lost on penalties but it was still a good competition and we all enjoyed it. It was nice to come away for this after a long season back home.

"We are sorry we didn't get further in the main competition but we lost to a Rangers team that did very well. Overall I am pleased with how the boys coped, it was tough for them at times but they worked very hard. I am sure they will have all taken a lot out of it. It is all good experience which will be invaluable for their development."