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Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Saturday, July 14, 2012
The Hammers negotiated puddles as well as the opposition to record their first win of pre-season at Roots Hall
Southend United 0 West Ham United 3
Pre-season games are not supposed to be like this. Usually these games are played in blazing sunshine in front of shirt-sleeved fans, but this was strictly umbrellas, rainhoods and bovril as the West Ham fans descended on Roots Hall for a trip to the seaside.
At times the game looked more like a water polo match as the wings turned into huge puddles and had West Ham not been in town, they may well have not played this game.
Despite all that West Ham played some delightful stuff in the first half, passing the ball around and testing goalkeeper Stuart Taylor on numerous occasions as they went on the hunt for goals.
Kevin Nolan had the ball in the net after just a couple of minutes as he tapped in the rebound after Matt Taylor’s headed was parried by the Southend keeper, only to be ruled out for offside.
Nicky Maynard and Taylor again had further efforts saved by the busy Taylor in goal, but on 22 minutes they finally got the goal their pressure deserved.
Taylor swung in a corner and Maynard was there to head home from just a couple of feet out.
Manager Sam Allardyce had opted for a strong team in the first half. Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble, Winston Reid, George McCartney and Ricardo Vaz Te were all in the starting line-up and the difference in class showed as Jussi Jaaskelainen was hardly called upon in that opening 45 minutes.
On 34 minutes, West Ham made it two. Jordan Spence sprinted down the right and benefitting from a good dummy run by Vaz Te, he cut in and let fly with a shot that flew into the corner from 20 yards.
Allardyce made only one change at the break with Sam Baldock replacing Maynard as he looked to step up the game time of many of his first-choice players.
The home side began the second half well without testing the keeper, but Rayan Leonard did go close with a long-ranger which flew over the bar.
The manager finally rang the changes on the hour with five substitutions to give the youngsters a chance and it was one of them who created the third West ham goal just four minutes later.
Striker Elliott Lee struck a skidding shot from 20 yards which keeper Phil Smith could only parry and Baldock was first to react to dink the ball over the keeper for his third goal in as many pre-season games.
Guy Demel and Ravel Morrison were both given run-outs, while youngster Amos Nasha stood out at the back, but as the pitch deteriorated, so did the game as the Hammers settled for three.
There was one worrying moment though when Dan Potts was stretchered off after a nasty clash of heads with Mark Phillips just a couple of minutes before the end.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Spence, Potts (Mavilla), McCartney (Demel), Reid (Nasha), Nolan (Bywater), Noble (Morrison), Hall (O’Neil), Taylor, Vaz Te (Lee), Maynard (Baldock).
Attendance: 7,135 (2824 West Ham)