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U's Reserves 2 West Ham Development 1
U's Reserves 2 West Ham Development 1
Tuesday, 16th Oct 2012 18:12 by Noah4x4

Noah gives us his low down on the U's reserves' victory over a the Hammers' development side.

U's Reserves lined up;


Olefumi, Heath, Hamilton, White

Sanderson, James-Lewis, Gilbey, O,Toole, Wright,


No West Ham player appearing had featured for the First XI this season, but former Iron's favourite Freddie Piquionne led the line, and whilst winning a lot of (hoof forward) aerial ball, he never looked a threat. West Ham played some nice one touch football, but it seemed quite easy for the U's to break up play and regain possession. Players such as John White had a vastly superior physical presence.

The U's Reserves played the attractive style encouraged by Joe Dunn and deservedly led 2-0 at the interval after two fine goals by J J O'Toole. However, he still looked far from fit and was a little off the pace, but showed some good touches. Both John White and Drey Wright had cracking games, whilst Bradley Hamilton looked confident at centre back, which is a probably good thing as Matt Heath limped off with what looked like a serious torn hamstring. I doubt if Heath will make the bench for Saturday. Olefumi was an interesting choice at full back, presumably in the absence of the injured Jackson Ramm. Tosin had a very competent game away from his usual wide wing berth, but I fear that his lack of height doesn't make him a natural choice as a defender. However, he was competent in defence and excellent in attack.

Alex Gilbey also stood out in patches, until disaster struck when he limply tried a return back pass to Pentney who was left stranded as Piquionne then rounded him for a soft goal. I recall Pentney only having to make two saves from half struck shots, and West Ham posed little threat in attack. The U's dominated and should have come away with even better reward than a 2-1 win. Nwachuku seemed stranded as the lone striker and rarely got the service to feet that he needs. Merrick James-Lewis was pretty anonymous until he became a makeshift centre back (to replace Heath) whereafter he then performed ably. However, this was the proverbial ‘game of two halves'.

I couldn't help seeing parallels with Northampton game, not the least the opponent's shirts (but Piquionne would have to eat 5,000 calories a week for five years to resemble Akinfenwi) and leaking a goal due to a Gilbey error. The U's were totally dominant in the first half and might have scored four. For example; James-Lewis and Nwachuku were once two on one, but the former selfishly struck it himself when the goal keeper had narrowed the angle to too far an extent. A simple pass to Nwachuku would have gifted Nnamdi a goal. Then the wheels came off to some degree in the second half once White, Heath and O'Toole were replaced. There was a nervous 20 minutes until the U's got their formation reorganised. Too many backpases, many daring the West Ham attackesr to puit a foot in and gain the ball. Substitute Tom Lapslie however impressed, snapping at the heels of all and sundry and breaking up the Iron's midfield play. Made me think of Kem Izzet in his prime.

In summary, a very entertaining afternoon, and I was encouraged that our under 21's are more than half decent, and can play the fluid passing game we now embraced, which augers well for the future.

Photo: Action Images

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