West Ham United's Development Squad lost a tight match 3-2 to Fulham on Tuesday at Little Heath.
The team, which included Papa Bouba Diop, Sam Baldock and Dan Potts, were beaten by a strong Fulham reserve side despite two excellent goals from Rob Hall.
Despite Hall's brace, manager Ian Hendon was left frustrated with the Hammers first half display. Fulham started much the brighter and took the lead after just two minutes when a through ball split the West Ham defence and striker Ronnie Minkwitz stroked the ball home.
Two minutes before the half, the scores were levelled when Sam Baldock chested the ball down on the edge of the area before Hall struck a wonderful half-volley into the top right-hand corner of the net.
"We made it tough for ourselves in the first 45 to be honest," said Hendon. "We didn't play as well as we know we can, we didn't get amongst them and we showed them too much respect. Because of that we got punished and we were lucky to end the half on level terms."
Hendon made changes at the break and the second half was a different story as the Hammers came out fighting - pushing Fulham back into their own half. The hosts got their reward when, 20 minutes into the second half, winger Blair Turgott won a penalty after latching onto Seb Lletget's through ball. Unfortunately for the Hammers, Hall's spot-kick was saved by Grant Smith in the Fulham goal,
Hendon said, "We made a few changes with Blair and Dom Vose coming on, which freshened things up a bit, and I did give the lads a little rocket at half-time. They played with more urgency in the second half, got amongst the Fulham boys a bit more, shut the ball down and pushed them into their own half for the first 15 minutes of the second half and we got our reward with the penalty."
The penalty miss seemed to take the wind out of the Hammers sails and three minutes later Fulham took the lead. A free-kick on the edge of the area was expertly dispatched into the top corner by Whites midfielder Alex Smith. Fulham then extended their lead just two minutes later with Buomesca Tue Na Bangna poking the ball home following a corner.
There was still time left for Hall to double his tally for the day with a free-kick from the right-hand side of the area that he curled brilliantly over the wall and into the top corner. Boss Hendon was impressed with Hall's overall performance.
"Rob's got that in his locker, he's a great ball striker which you can see from his goal and free kick today. He's got that ability to score goals which he showed and overall he did well today which is down to his hard work on the training pitch."
West Ham United XI: Cowler, Driver, Potts (Fanimo), Diop (Turgott), Wearen, K.Lee, Morrison (Ruddock), Lletget (Powell), Montenegro (McCallum), Hall, Baldock (Vose)