Olly and Eoin down Red Devils

Ian Hendon was full of praise for his West Ham United development squad following a 2-0 win over Crawley Town at Little Heath.

The Hammers overcame a strong and experienced Red Devils side, as well as cold and windy conditions, to record an impressive victory through second-half goals from Olly Lee and Eoin Wearen.

Hendon was able to call upon experience himself in the shape of Gary O'Neil, who completed another 45 minutes as he continues his comeback from a long-term ankle injury.

"I'm very pleased," said the coach. "We've had a couple of games in the last couple of weeks when perhaps the opposition wasn't as strong as we would have liked.

"That was a good test. They were a good side with the likes of big John Akinde who has played in the Championship in his time and a few other Football League players. It was tough in the first half but we fully deserved our win.

"As a group of lads, a few of them have been out on loan and I have watched them and they have come back and are kicking on again. They are learning all the time and, as their coach, it's very pleasing.

"As a group, they've worked hard together and they passed the ball well. It was windy and the pitch was difficult. We competed well in the first half when they got balls into the box and then in the second half we got the ball down and played it.

"We got it wide for Matthias [Fanimo] and Sebby [Lletget] and we've got our rewards. Sebby has got in behind for the first goal and Matty has whipped the free-kick over for the second. I'm very pleased because we never really looked in any trouble.

"Credit to the lads because they have worked their socks off and our quality came through and we passed the ball well in the second half."

Having adapted well to the trying conditions, the Hammers passed the ball well with the tireless Lee, lively Matthias Fanimo and the returning Ahmed Abdulla (pictured) - back from a leg injury - all looking assured in possession.

It was a trialist who could have put the Hammers in front early on, seeing one shot deflected wide by Crawley centre-back Pablo Mills before volleying wide from a low Fanimo Cross. Lee also tested visiting goalkeeper Michel Kuipers during an entertaining opening 45 minutes.

Crawley also threatened, with tall ex-Bristol City striker John Akinde forcing Peter Kurucz into a smart low save before the Hungarian produced an even better stop to keep out Byron Napper's volley from the resulting corner.

Into the second half and the introduction of O'Neil coincide with the game being turned in West Ham's favour. Callum Driver won a throw-in down the West Ham right. O'Neil collected the set piece before rolling the ball into the path of the over-lapping Sebastian Lletget. The United States Under-23 international cut the ball back for Lee to calmly slot into the far corner from 16 yards.

Both before and after Lee's opener, however, Akinde passed up great opportunities of his own to hit the net, lifting a shot over Kurucz from 12 yards before heading Michael Doughty's left-wing centre over the top from close-range.

Crawley came even closer to scoring with 15 minutes remaining when Scott Neilson cut in from the left wing before shooting low. The ball squirmed through Kurucz but bounced back off the base of the post and into the arms of the grateful goalkeeper.

Within 90 seconds, West Ham had settled matters when Driver was fouled, Fanimo bent over a free-kick and Wearen was on hand to stab the ball past substitute goalkeeper Jack Eaden and high into the net.

West Ham United XI: Kurucz, Driver, Brown, Sanchez, Wearen, Moncur, O.Lee, Lletget, Abdulla (O'Neil 46), Fanimo (Trialist 78), Trialist (Trialist 78)
Subs not used: Cowler, K.Lee