West Ham United U23s “bossed the game”, according to winger Dan Kemp, but could only record a goalless draw with Chelsea on Sunday.
The Hammers travelled to Aldershot Town’s Recreation Ground to take on the Blues on the back of two consecutive Premier League 2 Division 1 wins but were left frustrated as they failed to break the deadlock.
The visitors were the more dangerous side throughout, creating the best openings and forcing goalkeeper Jamie Cumming into action on a number of occasions.
Sead Haksabanovic, playing his first Hammers match since his first team bow against Bolton Wanderers in the Carabao Cup, came closest to scoring the game’s only goal when his superb scissor-kick shot was tipped round the post.
But Chelsea stayed compact at the back and frustrated Terry Westley’s men, who now have seven points from their last three league matches.
Kemp – a former Blues academy star – took the positives from the point, however, when he spoke to West Ham TV after the full-time whistle.
“We were a bit disappointed in the end,” he admitted, “but it’s never a bad result away at Chelsea getting a point.
“We felt that we totally bossed the game. We felt we dominated, had more chances so we’re disappointed in a way. But it was a good performance and the only thing missing was the goal.
“[The scissor kick] was a very good effort from Sead. He had a really good game today. I felt that we had too much for them with him, me, Nathan [Holland], Toni [Martinez] going forward and Dec and Pasky at the back. At the front we had too much for them and combined well together.”
During the first half, Kemp was brought down in the penalty area by Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah – brother of Watford’s Nathaniel – but the referee waved away the Hammers’ strong spot-kick appeals.
And after the game, the winger looked back on the decision with frustration.
“I felt that it was almost a stone-wall [penalty]. I don’t understand how the referee didn’t give it.
“He said there was contact but that’s something you have to get on with. We did that and kept playing.
“But we are getting more and more confident with every game and I think we can compete with anyone in the league. We have got some great players and a great squad, not just the players that start.
“We have got a lot still to come back [from injury] and we’re really confident at the moment. We’re looking forward to keep improving and keep winning.”
Kemp spent ten years as a youngster at Chelsea and played with a number of the Blues who faced the Hammers on Sunday.
And the England U19 international, who has gone from strength-to-strength since joining the east Londoners in November 2015, looked back on his time there with fondness.
“I have a lot of great memories at Chelsea, and it was lovely to see them all again and they were good to me.
“It was nice to see the boys again and I feel really content with the way I played. It was one of my better games this season and it is always nice to do it against your old club. You always have that little bit extra to give against them.
“Now, our focus is on Saturday and that’s what is great about this league; you play against very high quality opposition in the league. We will train hard this week and look forward to another big game [against Manchester City at Dagenham and Redbridge] on Saturday.”