Late double denies Hammers

West Ham United 2-2 FC Slovacko
Pre-season Match, Tuesday 19 July 2016, Stadion Rohrbach, Rohrbach, Austria
West Ham United were pegged back late in the opening game of their tour of Austria as FC Slovacko struck twice in the final five minutes to deny Slaven Bilic’s side victory.
The Hammers were cruising after Mark Noble and Ashley Fletcher netted either side of the break and looked well on course for the perfect start to the tour.
But Czech First League side Slovacko did not give up and earned themselves a share of the spoils when half-time sub Eldar Civic twice found space inside the area to fire home.
West Ham have a chance to go one better on Wednesday when they take on Russian side Rubin Kazan.
Darren Randolph and Enner Valencia were named in the starting line-up following their return from featuring on the international stage for Ireland and Ecuador earlier this summer.
After an early booking for Slovacko’s Tomas Kosut for a heavy foul on Pedro Obiang, the Hammers began to seize control and Sofiane Feghouli sent over a delicious eleventh-minute cross which Martin Samuelsen headed over the top.
Kosut was getting too tight to his man and Valencia took advantage to spin away from him with 22 minutes played. He knocked back to Feghouli, who clipped a cross towards Josh Cullen, but the Czech side cut his dangerous ball out.
Slovacko then enjoyed their best spell of the half as Jaroslav Divis nodded wide from a decent position before three corners on the spin came to nothing.
Eight minutes before the interval the breakthrough arrived when the Hammers made a strong period of possession count. After working the ball inside from the right, Cullen passed into Samuelsen, who had snuck into space on the opposite flank.
The Norway international cut back to Noble, and the No16 did the rest, firing into the bottom right-hand corner.
Valencia then blasted a free-kick over the top before Slaven Bilic made five changes at the break, giving Gokhan Tore and Ashley Fletcher first run outs in Claret and Blue.
Just two minutes into the second half, Slovacko thought they had drawn level when former Ipswich Town man Velice Sumulikoski rose highest to nod home. However, the referee spotted a push and the Hammers’ lead stood intact.
It was a lead that doubled four minutes later when two of the youngsters introduced at the break combined in devastating fashion.
Domingos Quina shifted the ball onto his right foot to make space for a cross, and his pinpoint delivery found Fletcher, who steered his header into the bottom right-hand corner.
Cheikhou Kouyate had a shot blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Milan Meca and Quina saw his effort from 25 yards deflect behind as the Hammers looked for a third.
There was to be a late sting in the tail though, as Slovacko’s Civic struck twice in the final five minutes to bring his side level.
Both goals came from inside the box, and the equaliser was emphatic as he controlled Davicek’s pass before slamming home.
West Ham United: Randolph (Spiegel 71), Byram, Burke, Rice (Martinez 74), Page (Antonio 46), Noble (Kouyate 46), Feghouli (Tore 46), Cullen, Obiang (Browne 69), Samuelsen (Quina 46), Valencia (Fletcher 46)
Subs not used: Adrian, Reid, Cresswell, Carroll, Antonio, Nordtveit, Makasi
Goals: Noble 37, Fletcher 52
FC Slovacko: Meca; Simko (Omyla 46), Kosut (Tok 46), Rada, Reinberk; Sutiulikoski, Danicek; Biolek (Civic 46), Mavlik, Kerbr; Divis
Subs not used: Mlupik, Koro, Ravic, Sadilek, Brecka
Goals: Civic 85, 89

Booked: Kosut