West Ham United 3 FC Lusitanos 0
Thursday, 2nd July 2015
by Staff Writer
West Ham enjoyed a comfortable win against the minnows from Andorra at the Boleyn Ground tonight - although it could have been by a far more comprehensive margin.
The Hammers kicked off the very last season at the Boleyn Ground with a three-goal winning margin in this Europa League 1st qualifying round tie, although visitors Lusitanos wouldn't have had any cause for complaint had they lost by twice that.
With the capacity crowd having welcomed new manager Slaven Bilic before kick off, it was Terry Westley who took control of the team for the night - much to the annoyance of his opposing number Xavier Roura Cuadros, it later transpired.
The Academy manager took the opportunity to give game time to several of the club's youngsters, including Reece Oxford - who at 16 years and 198 days became West Ham United's youngest ever player - and full-back Lewis Page, another debutant.
And he had to wait until the 40th minute for West Ham to break the deadlock as the front two of Mauro Zarate and Diafra Sakho combined, with the former providing a peach of a cross for the latter to nod home.
There was still time for one more ahead of the interval and the Hammers doubled their lead in first half injury time, after Morgan Amalfitano's clever pass from the byeline gave Sakho the chance to steer the ball beyond Gerardo Rubio.
The game - and almost certainly the tie - was put to bed two minutes ahead of the hour mark when Matt Jarvis centred for captain-for-the-night James Tomkins, who steered his header into the roof of the net.
And the only disappointment on the night was that United failed to extend their lead in the final half hour - although Oxford went very close to marking his debut with a goal from a 25-yard drive, and fellow Academy player Josh Cullen was only prevented from adding a fourth by the woodwork.
The return leg takes place at Lusitanos' 1,400-capacity stadium next Thursday night. West Ham are likely to field a very similar starting XI to that which began tonight's match.
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Player RatingsAdrian San Miguel del Castillo
It would not be right to say that we'd have lost were it not for... I'm sure Jussi would have done equally as well. But the man between the sticks has to stay alert through dullish periods, and do his job when the time comes. Adrian did. And he saved the penalty and so nearly got to the rebound. Dammit!
Had a lot of defending to do today, which he did well enough. That limited his chances to go forwards, though.
Had a fairly stiff test defensively today. He passed (especially with that cross, aha!), but not with flying colours. A few errors in amongst...
A good return to the side. A pity we shall lose him.
Whilst he did a decent job; with Reid, made Kane largely anonymous; I'm starting to get very cheesed off with his play-acting. First minute of stoppage time, Soldado's high boot catches JT on the... arm! The arm, James, the arm! But you start clutching your damn head again! Cut out the blatant cheating, you prize twit!
A couple of bad moments, giving away a soft, silly penalty particularly. Otherwise, a solid under-the-radar display today - a lot of good work, though little to catch the eye.
By not very much, Man of the Match. Energetic, committed, and wasn't that a lovely thumping header for the opener!
A little lucky not to be sent off. He looked decidedly miffed to be taken off, but I think it was the right decision - he was walking a knife edge by then. Decent but not outstanding.
No shirker, but definitely somewhat subdued when not at the point of the diamond.
Doesn't he run! I'm not one for stats much, but I'd be interested to see which of him and Sakho covers the most ground. Speaking of Sakho, Enner might be having a few words about the lack of a square ball for an easy tap in just before we did score our second...
As per Valencia, terrific work rate up front. A bit greedy with that chance on 58, but made up for it by sneaking in at the back stick a few minutes later.
(Replaced Noble) On for Noble on 66; off again 20 minutes later with what looked like a pulled hamstring. No effect on the game.
(Replaced Valencia) Came on, ran around for 20 minutes. Can't remember him doing anything notable.
(Replaced Cole) On when Cole had to be withdrawn with less than 10 minutes to play. No chance to make an impression.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Adrian San Miguel del Castillo, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell, Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Alex Song, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble, Stewart Downing, Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho.
Goals: Aaron Cresswell 8 .
Booked: James Collins .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
FC Lusitanos: .
Subs not used: .
Goals: Rose (81), Kane (pen 90+6).
Sent off: None.
Man of the Match: Cheikhou Kouyate.