Young Hammers side beaten at Billericay
A young West Ham United XI were beaten 3-1 by Isthmian League side Billericay Town on Tuesday night in the Club’s final pre-season clash of the summer.
The Hammers, managed by Terry Westley and consisting of both U23 and U18 players, could not recover after their Essex hosts scored twice in as many minutes at the end of the first half through Billy Bricknell and Jermaine Pennant, though Dan Kemp did half the deficit in the second half.
Sam Deering scored a third Town to seal the win in the final 15 minutes.
Premier League journeyman Pennant – who signed earlier this week – was one of a number of recognisable names in the home team’s lineup, which included former Hammers Paul Konchesky and Leo Chambers.
In the opening half an hour at a packed AGP Arena, there was little to get excited about.
For the Hammers, Martin Samuelsen had the first attempt, marauding forward into space but shooting low and straight at the keeper from 25 yards.
With both sides keeping things tight at the back, action inside the penalty areas was limited, though Louis Theophanous did drag a left-footed attempt wide just inside the box.
Suddenly though, on the half hour mark, the game sprung to life. First, Hammers keeper Nathan Trott was forced into action as he sprung superbly to his left to keep out Deering’s goalbound header.
The hosts’ new signing Pennant fired well over with the goal at his mercy from the rebound.
The former Arsenal and Liverpool winger played his part in the Billericay goal just second later, however. Nodding Theophanous’ centre back across goal, centre-forward Bricknell was on hand to find the back of the net with his head from inside the six-yard-box.
And a quick second was to come for Glenn Tamplin’s team. Architect of the first Pennant this time turned scorer, playing a neat one-two with first goalscorer Bricknell on the edge of the box before lashing into the top left-hand corner past Trott’s despairing dive.
And before the break, there were two more chances for Town, as defender Joe Ellul – up from the back for a series of set-pieces – was first denied by Trott before heading over from close range.
Early in the second period, Westley changed the Hammers’ shape, introducing Grady Diangana from the bench.
And the attacking midfielder soon set about getting his team back into the game. On the hour mark, he did just that; crossing from the left for Kemp to smash home from close range.
The visitors continued to battle hard and another substitute – Korrey Henry – tested the keeper from a tight angle shortly after.
But as West Ham pushed for an equaliser, the home team had other ideas. With just under a quarter of an hour left to play, the result was put beyond doubt.
Left-back Konchesky lifted a clever ball over the top which allowed Deering, continuing his run from midfield, to knock simply past Trott in goal.
Billericay Town: Julian, Chambers, Konchesky, Ellul, Deering, Evans, Davies, Bricknell (Modeste 55), Theophanous (Robinson 55), Pennant (Urquhart 55), Foley (Cunnington 55).
Subs not used: Payne, Swaine, Robinson.
Goals: Bricknell 32, Pennant 34, Deering 76
West Ham United XI: Trott, Pike (Greenidge 54), Pask (Okotcha 67), Akinola, Neufville (Diangana 46), Coventry (Henry 46), Powell, Kemp, Trialist, Samuelsen (Hector-Ingram 61), Trialist.
Sub not used: Forde
Goals: Kemp 60
Bookings: Akinola 87