Dev Squad end pre-season with draw

West Ham United U21 1-1 Aston Villa U21
Pre-Season Match

The Development Squad closed their pre-season campaign with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Little Heath on Friday afternoon.

The young Hammers were pegged back after taking an early lead and had to work hard to preserve parity against their visitors.

With a trip to PSV Eindhoven in the Premier League's new International Cup looming large on the horizon, Nick Haycock can reflect on a positive summer, which has brought victories over senior non-league sides, and silverware in the shape of the Absolute Sports Travel Cup, which involved Development teams from Shakhtar Donetsk and Espanyol.

Jaanai Gordon headed the Hammers into a 23rd minute lead on Friday, drifting into space in the box to meet Kyle Knoyle's right wing cross with an unstoppable header.

Villa responded well though and went close on 32 minutes when Michael Drennan made space for a shot outside the area and brought a sprawling stop from Sam Howes.

Six minutes later the visitors were level as Jerrell Sellars carried the ball inside from the right channel and beat Howes from 20 yards with the help of a deflection.

Villa were in the ascendancy and almost moved in front with 51 minutes on the clock as Callum Robinson curled wide from the edge of the box.

Kevin Toner headed wide after rising well to meet Henry Cowans' corner, but Villa could not break through for a second time as the Hammers stood firm.

Having weathered the storm, West Ham then finished the game strongly, as their trialist twice went close in the latter stages, first being closed down well by keeper Craig Hill, then firing wide of the near post after Moses Makasi's pass.

West Ham United: Howes, Knoyle (Sheriff 46), Page (Adebayo 58), Nasha, Onariase, Harney (Trialist 46), Labonne (Brown 75), Maksai, Gordon (Martins 75), Powell (Sylvestre), Fanimo