Missed chances frustrate Haycock

A failure to take their chances condemned West Ham United's Development Squad to a 2-0 defeat against Bolton Wanderers on Monday night, leaving manager Nick Haycock to rue what might have been.

The Hammers spurned a number of chances at the County Ground in Leyland, before falling behind on the stroke of half-time when Zach Clough teed up Georg Iliev inside the penalty area and the striker planted a shot firmly past Tim Brown.

Bolton grew in confidence after taking the lead and they doubled their advantage after 67 minutes when Tom Walker scored a superb solo goal, picking the ball up on the halfway line, beating two defenders and slotting the ball into the corner.

The visitors were unable to muster a response, despite the best efforts of Joe Cole, and Haycock felt his side paid the penalty for not scoring the first goal.


He told West Ham TV: "I thought it was a game of two halves. Had we been clinical and ruthless in front of goal, particularly in the first 25 minutes, then it would have been a different game.

"We were definitely the better team in the first half. I thought we had opportunities to be two or three-nil up. The disappointment was conceding a goal on the stroke of half-time, as it deflated the lads.

"They (the team) don't try and put a performance in like that, but I've just said to them that it wasn't good enough in the second half. They need to learn that, understand that and I want a reaction on Friday [against Blackburn Rovers]."

Defeat leaves the side's chances of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the end of season Play-Offs in the balance, with wins from their last two matches required to stand any chance.

The Development Squad boss feels the team may have missed their chance of a top-four finish, but is keen to finish strongly.

"Our Play-Off chances are gone now, but it's important for the football club that we try and finish in the top half because we've been up there all season, and to not finish up there would be a disappointment for all the boys who've been involved.

"Unfortunately at the minute we have a glut of injuries. Jordan Brown is the only fit centre forward eligible to play for this team and the youth team who is capable of playing at this level.

"The players that we've put out on loan has stretched us, but equally it's all for the development of the players at the level that they're playing at."

Attention now switches to the penultimate fixture in the Barclays U21 Premier League on Friday afternoon when they face Blackburn Rovers at Rush Green.

Haycock is keen to see his side repeat their performance from the first half of their match against the Trotters, but with one major difference.

"I want it to be more like the first half, but with the goals. First half, from an attacking point of view, they did everything I asked of them, apart from put the ball in the net.

"I'd probably be stood here smiling had we put the ball in the net because we'd probably have gone onto win the game, but you can't discount the fact that a game is played for 90 minutes and we dropped short of our standards in the second half."

Friday's match will be open to the public at Rush Green, with kick-off at 2pm. Admission is charged at £3 Adults, £1 for Concessions and FREE for Season Ticket Holders.