Filed: Friday, 10th August 2012
By: Staff Writer
Winston Reid's last-gasp equaliser earned West Ham a share of the spoils in their final match of pre-season in Portugal tonight.
A goal behind to a first half penalty, the New Zealander struck in the final minute of normal time to earn Sam Allardyce's side a draw which was the very least they deserved for a spirited effort in what proved to be a lively encounter.
West Ham featured four of their eight summer signings in tonight's starting XI; Jussi Jaaskelainen, James Collins, Momo Diame and Modibo Maiga all featured in a 4-3-3 formation with Carlton Cole spearheading at attack with Maiga and Ricardo Vaz Te either side.
Meanwhile James Tomkins reverted to the defensive midfield role that he was occasionally employed in during the 2011/12 campaign, with Collins and Reid forming the central defensive unit immediately behind him.
After a decent start, in which West Ham arguably produced their best football of pre-season, it was the hosts who took the lead 11 minutes before the break.
The returning James Collins appeared to be penalised for hand-ball after Custodio Castro's effort had been saved by Jaaskelainen and Lima - aka Rodrigo Jose Lima dos Santos - sent the Finnish 'keeper the wrong way from 12 yards to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Having re-appeared for the second half with a number of new faces and a new kit (their second strip) Braga threatened to score a second but West Ham stood strong.
The home side appeared to have achieved their aim with just five minutes remaining when sub Baiano found the net, however he was adjudged - correctly - to be offside.
It was to prove the turning point in the game as just four minutes later West Ham grabbed what had appeared to be an unlikely equaliser.
Having forced a corner on the right, substitute Matt Taylor swung in a deep cross which was headed back into the mix by James Tomkins, stationed at the far post.
Winston Reid was first to react and the Kiwi poked the ball over the goal line from three yards out despite the close attention of a number of Braga defenders to level the scores.
With Braga pushing on looking to restore their lead, United could have been celebrating an unlikely win had youngster George Moncur looked up and squared the ball when United broke on the counter attack in the second minute of added-on time.
With three players completely unmarked, the son of former Hammers midfielder John Moncur opted instead to shoot and his effort was pushed aside by Braga 'keeper Quim.
West Ham Utd: Jaaskelainen, Demel (Potts 79), Reid, Collins (O'Neil 74), O'Brien, Tomkins, Diame (Moncur 84), Noble, Vaz Te, Maiga, Cole (Taylor 71).
Sub not used: Henderson.
SC Braga: Quim, Mossoro, Barbosa, Lima, Elderson, Salino, Vinicius, Custodio, Alan, Douglao, Viana.
Subs: Beto, Nuno Coelho, Amorim, Luis Alberto, Micael, Baiano, Ismaily, Djamal, Carlao.
Braga rights [27th Jun 2012]
Hammers face Palermo [25th Aug 2006]
UEFA Cup: Hammers face tough draw [25th Aug 2006]
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