Moore Than Just A Club

Stern Foxes Hold Young Hammers In Premier League 2 Stalemate

Terry Westley’s West Ham United Development Squad were left frustrated by Steve Beaglehole’s Leicester City at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on Friday evening, as the spoils were shared in their PL2 Division One encounter.

Both sides had their opportunities throughout the end-to-end affair, the likes of Grady Diangana, Domingos Quina and prolific Spanish forward Antonio Martinez always looked a threat for the hosts, but never came close enough.

While for the visitors, who had millions of pounds of talent on show, Harvey Barnes and George Thomas did the best they could try to trouble Nathan Trott at various stages, Ahmed Musa and Portugal International Adrien Silva looked a danger behind them.

A point for the East Londoners, their fourth in the space of five days, was enough to see them move up two places to fourth position, while the Foxes missed out ion a chance to go to the top of the Division One Standings, they remained second and a single point behind League leaders Liverpool.

From the start in East London, Hammers Boss Westley decided on just two alterations to his starting Xl in the wake of an impressive away League victory away at Manchester United on Monday night.

The first of them came in defence with first-teamer Sam Byram making his long-awaited return from injury, replacing Reece Hammam, whilst further up the field, goal-scorer against the Red Devils Gray Diangana came in for Montenegrin Sead Haksabanovic.

Meanwhile, Foxes Manager Beaglehole made four changes to his team after they thrashed strugglers Tottenham Hotspur a week and a half ago in the PL2 at Holmes Park.

Coming into the side was bright young defender and Skipper Hamza Choudhury, first-team star Ahmed Musa, new signing Adrien Silva and attacking midfielder Harvey Barnes, they took the places of England U19 man Darnell Johnson, Lamine Kaba Sherif, Academy graduate Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and attacking prodigy Layton Ndukwu.

From the get-go in Dagenham, both the home side and the away side looked to get forward and seize the early upper-hand and the first 20 minutes would be filled with half-openings for both until clearer sights at goal started to flow at each end.

Westley’s boys were the first to register any real effort of note at goal, this came in the form of a free-kick from skillful midfielder Diangana that floated just wide of Daniel Iversen’s left-hand post.

Then, it was the high-flyers’ chance to angle a set-piece at goal a mere four minutes later, Barnes stepped up and his shot was on target forcing Trott into a superb diving save.

As the half progressed, the Hammers got closer and closer, Diangana unluckily volleying over from a lofted ball from Skipper Moses Makasi and Quina bringing down a Martinez flick on and firing just wide with his left foot.

But, no breakthrough was found, and the visitors proved much more of a presence in the second period, they should have led within just five minutes of the restart.

Trott was needed to let 16-year-old defender Ajibola Alese off the hook as he slipped to the ground, allowing Musa a clear run at goal, when he eventually got to a shooting position, the Bermuda-born shot-stopper denied him.

Both Diangana and Martinez had efforts that flew well over the bar in the moments that followed this at the other end, while Martin Samuelsen did get one on target, Iversen saving well to stop him from claiming two in two.

The introduction of Marcus Browne brought a different dimension in the Irons’ attacking play, he was found by Anthony Scully on the left only to see his low strike bulge the side netting.

However, by the final five minutes, Leicester were threatening the most and they so nearly found a winner, a combination of Musa and Josh Eppiah set up fellow substitute Dewsbury-Hall, a heroic Makasi block seeing his close-range effort fly over.

Although in the end, Westley and Beaglehole had to settle for deserved points, the third 0-0 draw of the season for the boys in Claret & Blue, and also the third for the Midlands team in all Competitions.

Next up West Ham’s young starlets will be a Monday night trip to Wales in exactly two weeks’ time to face off with Swansea City at the Landore Training Centre in the PL2.

Whereas, City are in action again in just two days when they travel to Boundary Park in the Checkatrade Trophy Third Round to clash with League One Oldham Athletic on Wednesday night.

Young Hammer of the Match: Moses Makasi