Hammers ease into round two

FC Lusitans 0-1 West Ham United (0-4 Agg)
1st Round 2nd Leg UEFA Europa League Qualifying Round 

West Ham United progressed to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League with a 4-0 aggregate win over Andorran outfit FC Lusitans. 

The travelling Hammers secured a 1-0 win on the night, with a well taken goal by Elliot Lee, a goal that proved to be the match winner. 

Lee, on his full senior debut for the Hammers, demonstrated his signal of intent early on as he looked to race on to Morgan Amalfitano’s through-ball, only to be flagged offside. 

The hosts, knowing they needed an early goal to give themselves any chance of keeping their dream alive, gave a good account of themselves. Winger Luis Miguel Dos Reis' cross-come-shot had Darren Randolph scrambling across his line but it fell just wide of the near post just in time for kick off 

A baking hot day in Andorra la Vella eventually gave way to a cool evening by kick off, yet tempers were certainly running hot on the pitch. 

First, Reece Oxford was on the end of a late challenge before a Diafra Sakho and Lusitan defender Moises San Nicolas had to be pulled apart. Just minutes later the two squared up again, Nicolas threw himself to the ground after the Senegalese raised his hands. 

Danish referee Anders Pulsen deliberated for a few minutes, booking Nicolas, before giving Sakho his marching orders.  

Despite being down to ten men, the Hammers soon galvanised themselves. Matt Jarvis flicked the ball round the corner for Elliot Lee, on his full senior debut, to run onto and curl past Gerardo Rubio into the far corner. 

A clearly delighted Lee, last season’s top goalscorer for the Development Squad, wheeled away to celebrate in front of the raucous travelling fans.    

Just minutes later and the Hammers were denied what looked like a clear cut penalty. Man of the moment Lee burst forward, and was felled just as he was about to pull the trigger with the goal at his mercy. Somewhat incredulously Pulsen waved play on, much to the host’s relief.  

The Hammers continued to assert their dominance yet the score remained 1-0 by half-time. 

The second half started much as the first ended. The Irons were well in control, Josh Cullen’s tenacity at the heart of the midfield was a joy to watch, who enjoyed a promising game on the young man's full senior debut. Matt Jarvis too looked sharp and was a constant outlet on the left flank. 

The home crowd thought they’d scored a much coveted goal when centre-back San Nicolas headed a lofted free-kick past Darren Randolph. He wheeled away in delight but his effort was chalked off for offside.  

Seeking fresher legs, Academy manager Terry Westley brought on youngsters Reece Burke, replacing Joey O’Brien on his 100th appearance for the Club and 2014/15 U18 top goalscorer Djair Parfitt-Williams, playing only his second senior game. 

While the match could not be described as vintage, it was certainly entertaining enough. New manager Slaven Bilic, in attendance on the West Ham dugout, would no doubt be pleased with what he saw. 

West Ham United: Randolph (GK), O’Brien (Burke 60), Tomkins ©, Oxford, Page, Poyet, Cullen (Nasha 85), Jarvis, Amalfitano (Parfitt-Williams 76), Sakho, Lee
Substitutes: Spiegel, Westley, Knoyle, Brown

Goals: Lee (21)

Bookings: Amalfitano, Cullen

Red Card: Diafra Sakho (14) 

FC Lusitans: Rubio, Acosta (Moya), Nicolas, Munoz, Romero, Dos Reis, Aguilar, Molina, Nicolas, Soares, Maciel
Substitutes: Benitez, Sonejee, Conteh, Pinto, Lima, Fernandes

Bookings: San Nicolas, Aguilar, Dos Reis, Moya

Referee: Anders Pulsen (Denmark)