Westley praises resolute team performance

Westley was pleased with the defensive performance

Terry Westley praised his team’s fighting spirit as the PL2 Hammers drew 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.

The Hammers took an early lead when Martin Samuelsen, returning to the PL2 side for the second time in a month after his lack of game time at Blackburn, slotted in after great build-up play.

Lewis Hardcastle equalised for Rovers with an excellent free-kick and despite the home side having the better chances in the second half, a draw was how the match ended.

“It was a frustrating type of game. The amount of rain we had throughout the day and during the game didn’t make it easy to get the ball down and pass it,” said Westley.

“Both teams played more direct and it wasn’t pretty. It’s probably the least amount of contact passes we’ve made all season.”

“On a positive note, we stayed in the game. We had a right mixture of a back four but they were resolute, stuck at it and in the end managed to get a point from it.”

Terry Westley made a number of changes from the draw with Northampton Town in the Checkatrade Trophy. Samuelsen and Josh Pask briefly returned from their loan spells to get some valuable minutes and there was also starts for Jonathan Calleri and Ashley Fletcher.

Three of the four mentioned combined for the opening goal on seven minutes – Calleri crossed for Fletcher who put it on a plate for Samuelsen. The Norwegian playmaker did excellently to stroke the ball into the bottom corner.

Moments later, Fletcher again turned architect but his cross was somehow fizzed across the face of goal without a goalscoring touch applied to it.

Rovers did look a threat but their equaliser was a gift after Sam Howes handled just outside his penalty area. Hardcastle curled the ball into the far corner to put the Lancashire side level.

The second half began in the same vain with the Hammers once again orchestrating things in the middle of the park. They had chances too to regain the lead but Samuelsen was thwarted twice by Rovers keeper Andrew Fisher.

1-1 was the final score and the Hammers stretch their unbeaten to five matches in all competitions.