Westley: We need to take our chances

The Hammers started brightly but didn't convert their chances
Academy Director Terry Westley said his side must make the most of the chances they create as another bright performance went unrewarded.

The young Hammers picked up their first point of the season with a 2-2 draw with Newcastle United, however it took a 90th minute Martin Samuelsen penalty to salvage the game in which the Irons started strongly.

In front of a busy strong home following, one of the biggest in recent memory, Westley’s side flew out of the traps and deservedly took the lead after just four minutes as Jordan Brown finished coolly to net his first goal of the season.

“We worked hard collectively to get a big crowd in tonight, the media team, commercial, the board. Everyone pulled together. It was a foul night really so to get the numbers we did was pleasing.

“Hopefully this is just the start and it builds and builds. It really helps them, to get used to the atmosphere and get used to playing under pressure.  

“We started very brightly and deservedly scored after four minutes. We played with a very quick tempo which they found hard to deal with. We created a number of opportunities and kept going round the back of them.

“But you could kind of sense that our players thought they’d be in for a nice evening and we took our foot off the gas a little bit. To be fair to the Newcastle players grew more and more into the game.”

One of the standout performers was, perhaps unsurprisingly new signing Michail Antonio, who on his Boleyn Ground debut, looked good value for his £7m transfer fee.   

The winger played the first hour, carving a number of for his teammates as well as going close himself on a number of occasions.

“It was nice to see Michail play with zest and such enthusiasm. Giving him 60 minutes always the plan and he was a real powerhouse. There’ll be a lot of good things to come from him in the first team for the fans no doubt.”

Further positives for the Hammers was Lewis Page’s return to action after more than a month out injured.

While another was Luka Belic’s debut, the Serbian looked lively, and it was his bravery that won the Dev Squad the penalty which Samuelsen despatched.  

“It was obviously nice to see Lewis make a return after quite a long time out.

“Young Luka Belic made his debut, his clearance came through late this afternoon, he got a feel for it today but there’ll be more to come from him.”

The Hammers now face a quick recovery time as they prepare to travel to play Stoke City on Saturday 26 September.

 “We’ve got to recover from this game quickly because we’ve got another game away at Stoke City on Saturday.

“We looked tired toward the end so we may have to change things round. It depends who is involved in the first team but we will have a strong squad to pick from.”