City claim reserves win

West Ham United reserves 1-2 Manchester City reserves

Frank Nouble's goal was not enough to beat Manchester City reserves in a competitive encounter at Thurrock FC's Ship Lane on Tuesday afternoon.

After the Hammers dominated the first half, City came out looking stronger in the second half scoring two goals to take control of the Barclays Premier Reserve League match. Abdisalam Ibrahim scored on 58 minutes and, seven minutes later, the visitors added a second through Winston Reid's own goal.

The Hammers worked their way back into the game, with Frank Nouble's header making for an interesting final 20 minutes. However, West Ham could not find the equaliser that would have avoided their first defeat at home this season.

Alex Dyer had a mixture of youth and experience to call on for this match, with full internationals Radoslav Kovac, Reid and Jonathan Spector joining a host of young professionals in the starting XI.

The Hammers lined up in a 4-4-2 with the midfield in a diamond. The Czech Republic international Kovac had a holding role while Academy graduates Oliver Lee and George Moncur played on the right and left, respectively. Ahmed Abdulla acted as the link between the midfield and the attack.

West Ham started the better, testing goalkeeper David Gonzalez with just two minutes played. Moncur switched play cleverly and Kovac helped the ball on to Brown. The highly-rated left-back crossed and Gonzalez came out, diverting the ball on to Nouble's shoulder. However, the ball bounced narrowly wide.

After seven minutes, it was time for City's first chance with Scott Kay firing in a low shot. Marek Stech blocked with his legs and Lee was able to hack the ball clear.

West Ham responded well through Abdulla's shot from 20 yards. Reid found the Saudi Arabian with a fine pass. He controlled, lost his defender and produced a powerful shot from the edge of the area, forcing a sprawling save from Gonzalez.

As the half progressed, the Hammers were enjoying most of the possession. Abdulla was the most dynamic player for the home side at the heart of all their attacking play.

But City were always a threat and, on 33 minutes, Ibrahim curled a shot a couple of yards wide before Helan had another shot for the visitors as half-time approached. The only other event of note before the interval was a caution for Lee for his late sliding tackle on Tutte.

West Ham again started strongly in the second half and were passing the ball confidently around the midfield. City again came back and took the lead just before the hour mark.

A superb run down the right by Etuhu saw him find Ibrahim on the edge of the box. The striker held off his marker and smashed a low left-foot drive past Stech from 16 yards.

Dyer quickly made a double change in midfield, replacing Kovac and Moncur with Danny Subuola and Sebastian Lletget. West Ham were nowplaying 4-3-3 with Montano and Subuola on the left and right flank respectively and the American Lletget in the centre.

Despite the substitutions, City increased their lead through an unfortunate own goal from New Zealand international Reid. Helan crossed low from the left flank and Reid, sliding in at the near post, managed to divert the ball past Stech.

The Hammers refuse to give up, though, and pulled one back in the 71st minute. Brown did well on the wing before crossing for the lunging Cristian Montano. It was just too strong for the Colombian but Lee recovered on the opposite side and returned the ball to the centre. By now, Nouble had lost his marker and planed a firm header into the top right-hand corner from eight yards.

The goal sparked hopes of a home comeback and Dyer's men pressed forward to look for a second. City held firm, though, and became the first team to beat the Hammers at their Thurrock home this season. The reserves will hope to get back to winning ways when they visit Aston Villa on Monday 15 November - having already won at Everton and Liverpool this season.

West Ham United reserves: Stech, Spector, Spence, Reid, Brown, Kovac (Subuola 62), Lee, Moncur (Lletget 62), Abdulla, Montano, Nouble
Subs: Mehmet, Sanchez, Powell

Manchester City: Gonzalez, Logan, Chantler, Kay, Wabara, Mee, Etuhu (Elabdellaou 85), Tutte, Guidetti, Ibrahim, Helan
Subs: Johansen, Benali, Veseli, Smith