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Development Squad

Report: West Ham U23s 0-0 Rovers U23s

Below-par performance sees Billy Barr's side miss out on top spot in the PL2 table

23 October 2020

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Rovers Under-23s missed the opportunity to claim top spot in the table after being held to a goalless draw away to West Ham.

In a scrappy game of few clear-cut chances, Rovers were unable to find the back of the net for the first time this season, but the result stretches their unbeaten run to five games and sees them climb to second place in Premier League 2 Division 1.

Ahead of the game, Rovers handed a debut to goalkeeper Antonis Stergiakis and welcomed back Hayden Carter and Luke Brennan, who were all on the bench for the first team game against Nottingham Forest last weekend, as well as fit-again Tyler Magloire, but Brad Lyons was forced to pull out after feeling unwell in the build-up.

Billy Barr’s side were dealt a further blow early on when Joe Grayson was forced off after landing awkwardly on the ball, with Sam Barnes coming on in his place.

Moments earlier, Rovers had registered the game’s first chance, as Brennan saw a shot from a narrow angle beaten away.

Brennan’s ambitious overhead kick then almost fell kindly for Sam Burns, but Ben Johnson made a vital interception.

In a stop-start first half, the Hammers were forced to make two changes due to injuries, as both sides struggled to find any fluency going forward. The closest Rovers came to breaking the deadlock arrived on 43 minutes, when Connor McBride found space on the edge of the area, but his shot rippled the side-netting.

McBride went close again shortly after the restart, but his effort from the corner of the area just cleared the crossbar, whilst at the other end, Sean Adarkwa found himself through on goal, but after rounding Stergiakis, his shot struck the outside of the post.

The Hammers went close again just past the hour mark, as Kamarai Swyer played a one-two with Adarkwa, but Stergiakis made a smart save to divert his low drive around the post.

McBride, who had scored in every game for Rovers this season, had another good opportunity to secure the points, but he misplaced his header from close range.

The Rovers defenders made a couple of important blocks late on to preserve their third clean sheet and maintain their unbeaten start to the season, but a draw was arguably a fair result.

WEST HAM: Anang, Ashby, Baptiste, Alese (Greenidge 15), Johnson, Coventry, Lewis, Ashley (Swyer 37), Rosa, Adarkwa, Afolayan.
Subs not used: Jinadu, Okotcha, Forson.

ROVERS: Stergiakis, Carter, Magloire, Grayson (Barnes 23), Thompson, Whitehall, Annesley, Paton (Pike 80), Brennan, McBride, Burns (Saadi 58).
Subs not used: Eastham.

Photo courtesy of Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United

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