DEVELOPMENT SQUAD v SOUTHAMPTON
BARCLAYS U21 PREMIER LEAGUE
RUSH GREEN STADIUM
FRIDAY 14 FEBRUARY 2014
REFEREE: MARK POTTAGE
Full-time: The Hammers have won! In ugly conditions it was a beautiful goal from Danny Whithead which won a hard fought encounter. The midfielder sent an unstoppable shot into the top corner after 52 minutes to win the contest. It was a deserved win for the home side who thoroughly dominated the second half. The young Hammers are back to winning ways after a sticky start to 2014!
90+2 mins: We're almost there. Not long left now as the Hammers hold the Saints at arms length.
90 mins: Vital block by Chambers! The defender makes a crucial stop as Sims fire goalwards from close range. That's as good as a goal from him.
88 mins: Turgott wins a free-kick on the right. Him and Sadlier take it quick before playing the ball to Cullen whose sweeping cross beats every body and goes out.
86 mins: Sims races across the pitch to the right-hand side and sends a floated cross into the box. Gallagher meets it but his looping header is held well by Nemrava.
84 mins: A little bit of pressure building now. Only around six minutes left to see out however.
82 mins: The Saints come forward through Sinclair who's one-on-one with Chambers. He twists and turns before shooting but it's straight at Nemrava.
80 mins: Ten minutes left and the home side will be confident of seeing this out with minimal threat from the visitors in this second half.
78 mins: Nearly a second for the home side as they somehow fail to convert after a goalmouth scramble. Maguire is also on for Lee.
76 mins: The wind is more opposition to the Hammers than the Saints are at the moment. Every forward ball is challenged by huge gusts.
74 mins: Sadlier is on, making a comeback from the shin injury he suffered at the start of December. He replaces Fanimo.
73 mins: Lee races away down the left, beating three defenders before putting the ball across. It's too high for his waiting teammates though and comes to nothing.
71 mins: The visitors go close as Rowe's inswinging free-kick is deflected into the side-netting for a corner. Again Rowe takes but again the wind helps the ball sail off the pitch.
69 mins: Sinclair sends a ball to the back post looking for Rowe, Knoyle marshalls him well and sees the ball out.
67 mins: The wind has played havoc with anything played aerially tonight. The home side are playing against the wind in this second half but are playing neat football on the floor to combat conditions.
64 mins: Fanimo stretches but can't manage to get a proper connection as the ball from Turgott curls in his direction. He makes contact but sends it to a defender who clears.
62 mins: Fanimo and Turgott combine before the latter loses his footing, fouling his opponent in the process and brings a positive move to an end.
60 mins: Lletget is wrestled to the ground and wins a free-kick near the left-hand touchline. Nothing comes of it and Saints counter only for the offside flag to halt proceedings.
58 mins: Sims takes on Page and forces a corner. Rowe takes but curls it too much and it drifts over the crossbar.
56 mins: Knoyle takes a big blow as Sinclair wipes him out. No card though.
54 mins: Unbelievably that was the Development Squad's first goal of 2014. And what a goal it was, well worth the wait.
52 mins GOAL: Goaalllllllllllll! What a hit from Danny Whitehead! The midfielder picks the ball up outside the box before setting himself and unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Take a bow!
51 mins: Isgrove makes way for Sims.
49 mins: Isgrove looks to be in trouble as he pulls up clutching his hamstring after chasing down a long ball. He's off for treatment.
47 mins: Post! Rowe strikes the post as seven West Ham players charge towards the ball from the free-kick. Close shave.
46 mins: Nemrava is instantly in trouble as he slides to collect a back pass and gives away an indirect free-kick as well as earning himself a yellow card.
46 mins: West Ham have kick-off for the second period. Lee and Lletget get us going. Henderson has also been replaced at the half with Vet Nemrava coming on.
Half-time: The crowd quickly disperse inside for a hot beverage as half-time is signalled. It's been a close and hard fought match thus far with both sides yet to find a cutting edge. Sinclair had the best chance of the match when he shot wide from eight yards. Turgott's been lively for the Hammers who have been much-improved tonight.
45 mins: Turgott picks the ball up just outside the opposition's penalty area and decides to have a dig. It's a powerful effort but never on target and flies wide.
43 mins: Rowe nibbles at Turgott's heels and the Hammers have a free-kick. It's taken quick to Whitehead who crosses toward Lletget. The American nods it down for Lee who half-volleys it first time well over the bar.
41 mins: As we head toward half-time the match shows very few signs of opening up. Both teams look well matched at present.
39 mins: Rowe nicks the ball of Page in a dangerous area before heading to the byline and pulling the ball back for Sinclair who should score but instead scuffs a shot wide. Bih let-off there.
37 mins: Rowe takes the set-piece and it drift toward the six-yard box where Potts meets it with a dominant header.
36 mins: Southampton attack through Rowe before the ball comes to McCarthy who looks to go beyond Page but the left-back sends the ball out for a corner.
34 mins: Chambers tries to chip a ball through to find the run of Lee. As with every over long ball so far it's over-hit and skips through for the keeper.
32 mins: Turgott is again causing problems for McCarthy but can't win the corner as the ball ricochets back off the winger after his attempted cross.
29 mins: Whitehead gives the ball away and inadvertantly puts Rowe through. The forward attempts a cross but Whitehead has hurtled back to make amends for his earlier error.
27 mins: Page marauds down the left as Lee slides a pass through. McCarthy comes across to make a strong tackle on the full-back.
25 mins: The wind is swirling around the ground as spectators, including Academy Director Tony Carr MBE, take cover from the elements.
23 mins: Turgott picks the ball up on the edge of the box and glides past Stephens before the captain recovers to make a good tackle. The winger takes the resulting corner and it floats across the face of goal without taking a touch of anybody. The pressure builds!
22mins: Gape tries his luck from range and Henderson fumbles the ball before collecting at the second attempt.
21 mins: Rowe takes but it's Page again who meets it well and clears.
20 mins: Page makes a great slide tackle in the box to stop Isgrove from firing on goal. Corner to Southampton.
18 mins: Henderson again loses his footing after Chambers' back pass. He falls over but the ball rolls back to Chambers and not the two Saints attackers.
16 mins: Cullen concedes a free-kick inside his own half. Rowe lines it up and strikes but sends the ball flying harmlessly over.
14 mins: Turgott skips down the byline going past two defenders and pulling the ball back but in the crowd of players in the six-yard box it is a Southampton one that gathers and clears. Great opportunity there.
12 mins: Lee climbs above his marker to flick on Henderson's long pass but again the ball bounces too far for Turgott.
10 mins: A sign of the pitch playing a part as Henderson loses his footing as he looks to find Page. The balls squirms out of play for a throw.
8 mins: Potts looks to put Turgott through with a long ball from the back but it skids off the greasy surface and through to the keeper.
6 mins: It's a much more confident start from the Hammers than four days ago against Manchester United. They're keeping the ball well and looking to attack at every opportunity.
4 mins: Isgrove collects a ball from Gape and looks to put it across the box but Potts is there to clear.
2 mins: Close! Fanimo strikes a low effort just wide after Lee finds him with a lovely cross field ball. Great start.
1 min: Knoyle looks to set Lee away behind the Saints' backline but the ball is cut-out and cleared.
Kick-off: The sides change ends with the Hammers now kicking into a strong breeze and the Saints kick us off.
6:55pm: The teams are out and we're nearly ready to go at Rush Green. Come on you Irons!
6:50pm: Conditions have improved remarkably since half an hour ago and the pitch seems largely playable with some damp patches. Ten minutes until game time!
6:42pm: There's plenty of seats left in the Rush Green stands but there are some committed Hammers fans drifting through the turnstiles.
6:40pm: The referee is now out on the pitch for the first time but i've been told there will be no pitch inspection so both sides will face a battle against the elements tonight. It also means there's still time for you to make kick-off!
6:30pm: Just to keep you informed in case this match does take place, there is one change to the Hammers' starting line-up. Josh Cullen replaces Abdul Razak in centre midfield.
6:24pm: The West Ham players look sheepish as they emerge from the tunnel to begin their warm-ups. The Saints' are thoroughly soaked through having been well into their pre-match routine.
6:22pm: The ref has not been out to inspect the pitch as yet but I fear when he does this game may not be taking place.
6:15pm: There's 45 minutes until kick-off at Rush Green but this game surely has to be in doubt as the deluge of rain continues to come down. The DJ is however playing the famous Gene Kelly song 'Singing in the rain' to the two-strong crowd.
Tonight, the West Ham United Development Squad return to a rather wet Rush Green stadium as they continue their search for a first win of 2014 against Southampton. Four days on from a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Under-21s will be hoping to pick-up their first Barclays Under-21 Premier League win since a 2-0 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 21 October 2013. Defeats to Fulham, West Bromwich Albion, and the aforementioned loss to the Red Devils have started the New Year on a sour note but the young Hammers still occupy seventh place in the table and are only four points from a top four spot which would qualify them for the season-ending play-offs.
With Nick Haycock absent whilst away with the first team in Dubai, Steve Potts steps into the dug-out for the encounter against the Saints tonight. The starting line-up shows two changes from Monday night with Blair Turgott and Stephen Henderson replacing Kieran Bywater and Raphael Spiegel. Under-18 midfielder Josh Cullen is also included in the squad at the expense of Moses Makasi.
West Ham United: Henderson, Knoyle, Page, Whitehead, Potts, Chambers, Turgott, Cullen, Lee, Lletget, Fanimo
Subs: Harney, Nemrava, Razak, Sadlier, Maguire
Southampton: Johns, McCarthy, Targett, Gape, Stephens, Turnbull, Isgrove, Flannigan, Gallagher, Sinclair, Rowe
Subs: Young, White, Seager, Sims, Curtis