West Ham United 2 (Sadlier 6, Potts 67)
A goal in each half took West Ham back to the top of the Barclays Under 21s Premier League but Wolves didn’t let the Londoners have it all their own way and, with a little luck, Steve Weaver’s team could have taken something form the game.
The playing surface at the Bucks Head was saturated and, with rain still falling, there was plenty of spray whenever the ball was kicked.
It took West Ham just six minutes to move into the lead. The home defence failed to clear their lines efficiently and Kieran Sadlier had the easiest of tasks in converting after George Moncur had squared the ball to him.
Jamie O’Hara tested Hammers keeper Raphael Spiegel with a curling effort and then the Swiss shot stopper turned over a fierce Jordan Cranston shot at his near post.
From the corner conceded, taken by Robbie Parry, there was a brief scramble in the West Ham goalmouth before a quick break ended with Dylan Tombides blazing over from a good position just seconds later.
Blair Turgott headed over following a Sadlier cross before Wolves were awarded a 30th minute penalty after Eusebio Bancessi was tripped by Callum Driver as he sprinted into the West Ham area. O’Hara took the spot kick but Spiegel guessed correctly diving to his right to save.
Carlton Cole missed a gift opening two minutes later when, from point blank range, he hit the ball into the floor and wide after a cross from Moncur.
Shortly before the break Sam Whittall was inches away from levelling the scores with a low, 25-yard drive that skimmed across the sodden surface and just wide.
Half-Time: Wolves 0 West Ham 1
Despite the tricky conditions, the game was flowing and played at a fair pace. Wolves forced the visitors back in the opening exchanges and Jamie Tank headed onto the roof of the net after a corner from Parry.
Bradley Reid, who was playing his first competitive game for the club, had been showing his potential but then, on the hour mark, he pulled up as he chased a ball into the West Ham box and he was immediately replaced by Ibrahim Keita.
The Hammers stretched their advantage in the 67th minute as Dan Potts stooped to head home following a Sadlier corner.
A minute later, Eusebio drew some warm applause from the small crowd with a neat piece of footwork that saw him go past three defenders before he unleashed a shot from the narrowest of angles that was taken by the keeper.
Both sides looked dangerous as they went forward and Tank did well to get in front of a shot from Turgott that had ‘goal’ written all over it before Keita took the ball to the edge of the West Ham box and hit a shot that flew inches over the angle.
Just before the end Tombides flashed a shot narrowly wide of Jon Flatt’s far post. Whilst a 2-0 defeat didn’t reflect Wolves’ share of the play, 3-0 would have been a travesty.
Wolves: Flatt, Iorfa, Cranston, Whittall, Ihiekwe, Tank, Bancessi, Jakobsson, Reid (Keita 61), O’Hara, Parry.
Unused subs: Kellerman, Dutton, Erdei, Carter.
West Ham: Spiegel, Chambers, Driver, Lletget, Potts, Mpanzu, Turgott, Moncur (Whitehead 50), Cole (McCallum 90), Sadlier, Tombides.
Unused subs: Fanimo, Baxter.
Referee: G. Stretton.