Southend United were beaten 5-1 by a West Ham XI as Phil Brown’s side continued their pre-season preparations at Roots Hall tonight.
The Blues raced into an early lead through a tidy finish by Matt Rush, but the quality of the Premier League club’s youngsters shone through as they put five past Southend in what was a good workout in front of 1,943 fans at Roots Hall.
Southend began the brightest and it only took three minutes for the home side to get their first chance. Trialist A cut inside from the left flank before skilfully laying the ball off to Rush, but his shot hit a West Ham defender and the side netting.
Eight minutes later, Brown’s men took the lead. James Dunne did brilliantly to work the ball to the right-hand side of the box. His low cross was met by Rhys Murphy who couldn’t quite unleash a shot, but the stray ball fell to Rush and the 20-year-old tucked the ball into the bottom right corner with a low, left footed finish.
Just a minute later, Murphy headed over from a teasing Jason Demetriou cross.
The West Ham youngsters grew into the first half after Blues’ dominant start, and Dimitri Halajko’s side levelled the game on the 28th minute. Amadou Diallou held the ball just outside Southend’s penalty area before unleashing a fierce strike which Harry Seaden couldn’t hold onto. The parried shot was followed up by Thierry Nevers, who headed past the Southend goalkeeper.
The young Irons then took the lead on the 39th minute. A right-wing corner by Emmanuel Longelo was met by Jamal Baptiste and the 17-year-old stuck the ball past Seaden to make it 2-1.
The visitors had the better of the play as the first half came to an end.
The break in play saw no shift in the momentum of the game, and it only took four minutes after the restart for West Ham to get their third goal. A neat piece of play down the right flank resulted in a fantastic cross by Harrison Ashby, which was met by the head of Nevers at the back-post, as the 19-year-old grabbed his second goal of the game.
Five minutes later, Mesaque Dju nearly made it four for the Irons. The ball fell to him inside the box, but he fired wide from close range.
This wasn’t to be a night where Dju was denied completely, and he made sure of that on the 65th minute. West Ham’s number seven found himself with the ball in Southend’s box after a poor clearance and he fired an excellent finish past Seaden to make it four for the visitors.
The second half seemed as if it was dwindling to a rather uneventful finish, until the 83rd minute when Nevers got his third for the evening. A dangerous ball was played into Blues’ box, it wasn’t dealt with, allowing the young Irons’ number nine to get his hat-trick.
Trialist D had a late chance in the closing stages of the game for the home side, but he shot wide as Southend were beaten by Halajko’s side.
Starting XI: Seaden, Demetriou, White, Hobson, Sayers, Walsh, Dunne, Ogogo, Trialist A, Murphy (Trialist B 34’), Rush
After 65th minute: Seaden, Howard, Mitchell-Nelson, Davis, Clifford, Egbri, Ferguson, Atkinson (Chandler 69’), Trialist C, Trialist D, Trialist B (Kinali 80’)
Southend: Rush (11’)
West Ham: Nevers (28’, 49’, 83’) Baptiste (39’) Dju (65’)