Sakho grabs two in Irons stroll

2 (1)Rob Shepherd

reporting from

Upton Park

West Ham 3 FC Lusitans 0
The Slaven Bilic era at West Ham got off to a predictable winning start as stiker  Diafra Sakho  sharpened his sword for the new season with two first half goals.
It was never going to a mountain to climb against FC Lusitans of Andorra in this first qualifying round of the Europa Cup. So it proved.
diafra-sakho-542296The second leg next week will rubber stamp West Ham’s place in the next phase of this gruelling  process to make the Europa League proper.
It could, should have been a bigger margin , but it was a decent display by the Hammers considering most  English teams only just started pre- season training yet.
Certainly Slaven Bilic must have been satisfied  with the attitude his players showed. Without sweating it out on a sultry, humid night, they applied themselves well against opponents who initially showed a a head of steam but then run out of it.
Just before the kick off Bilic, with Hammers scarf draped around his shoulder, was presented to the fans.
As the big man took a few strides onto the pitch the applause  and cheers were resounding. Rafa Benitez might well have been the board’s number one choice before Real Madrid came in but one gets the feeling that Bilic was the choice of hardcore fans.
And how they tuned out in their numbers the Boleyn Ground in this its last year before the move to Olympic Stadium . A full house  was a  fantastic turn out  considering the time of the year and the early stage of this potentially marathon  and oft maligned competition.
As promised  Bilic after milking the acclaim with a broad smile and clapping the crowd, took a  seat in the stand so he could assess the mixture of first teamers on their way back from injury and youngsters, while development coach held the fort in the dug out.
A sensible move as Bilic, who flew back from the first team training camp in Cork, seeks over the  coming  four weeks to assess as many players as he can before the PL season kicks off at Arsenal on August.
In that respect this soon turned out to be a better test than had been expected well in the first half at least.
FC Lusistans are a part time outfit from the tiny principality in the Catalan region of Spain, but far from being a Sunday morning outfit  they looked sharp , well organized , and from time to time prepared to put their foot in in the opening phase .
At times cynical too as young Reece Oxford …at 16 becoming the youngest  ever Hammer to appear in a competitive for the club…found out in the 26th minute when he was suckered into a rash challenge by Aguilar who then made a meal of it.
Oxford was shown the yellow card. Welcome the men’s football sunshine. But after a nervy start the England under 17  skipper playing as one of two deep lying midfielders along side Diego Poyet gradually started to show flashes  of his ability to pull the strings.
It was Poyet though  who was the more impressive and even if the club are on the verge of signing Alex Song on a permanent deal, Gus Poyet’s son, looks to be ready to be in contention for  a place in the first team on this evidence.
After a difficult opening first half and hour it was Poyet who carved out the first real opening when he showed the vision to spray the ball wide to Morgan Amalfatino, who crossed first time but from close range Sakho headed over.
But Sakho who missed much of the second half of the season with injury found his range in the 40th minute when Mauro Zarate, back at the club after former manager  Sam Allardyce ignored him them farmed him out to QPR last season, out to impress Bilic , showed good skill then put over an excellent deep cross which Sakho did well to reach with his head and hammer into the top corner.
Then just before the half time whistle Zarate showed more fine  footwork to release Amalfatino who crossed for Sakho to sweep home.
That will have boosted the club’s top scorer with 10 last season he is over his injury woes.
That broke the resistance of Lusitans and in the 55th minute James Tomkins headed home from close range.
That gave Westley the chance to try out some more experiments from the bench and look at Oxford  at centre back.
In the end it became a bit of stroll but what more could anyone , even Bilic, expect at this rudely early stage of the new season  ?
It was a job well done if not the goalfest many of the Hammers fans who had come out en masse had hope for. Perhaps in a way that was a good thing for Bilic. There’s no point in expectations reaching fever pitch in mid summer heat. It’s where West Ham under him will be mid season which will be more relevant.
  Teams ( 4-2-2-1-1) Randolph 6 O’Brien  6 Tomkins 7 Burke 6 ( Cullen 58 6 )  Page 7  : Poyet  7 Oxford 6 : Amalafitano 7 Jarvis 5 : Zarate 7 (Parfitt-Williams 6 ) : Sakho  8( Lee 61 …6)


About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

10 comments on “Sakho grabs two in Irons stroll

  1. Rob doesn’t mess around getting his reports in lol
    Very good summary of events and expectations,mind you that is what he does for a living lol
    Like I said earlier even though it was a sub appearance I’d like to see more of young Josh Cullen

  2. Lol,it was rifled out.Sh*t having a journalist putting out reports for us on this site aint it Quick.Rubbish site,haha.Good read cheers 😀

    • Haha yeah terrible and all those ex-players Leroy,Moncs and Frankie Mc giving their west ham way opinions,it’s terrible. Notice Rob doesn’t even mention the main event of the night the ole-ing of Lusitans and jokey boos when we got the ball back,thought a geezer on Wetpants was gonna have a meltdown about it lol

      • Lmao,i just got back from the match & flicking through the forums i wanted to see peoples views.F*ck me that geezer has gone bang into one about that aint he Quick.I read the thread twice to see if he was joking.But no,he bleedin’ ment it big time,loool 😀

      • Haha the only bit I agreed with him about is not liking pantomimes,he must be just back from a humour bypass lol

  3. Rob must have been in a rush to get to the boozer.Pretty much how i saw things.Did what we had to do,gave the kids some experience.Basically got ourselves into the next round in one match.All in all,good job done.

  4. Job done,good night out,saw some of the youngsters who looked good even though the opposition wasnt stiff.Nice to see Zarate again,i enjoy watching him,even though im sure he will still get **** from some,lol

  5. Rob, Only 5 marks for Jarvis?
    In my opinion he deserved a ‘7’

    • I agree, I thought he gave their full back nightmares, maybe his delivery was not always top draw but I rated him better than 5… Great read though and I thought Page was superb, his crossing looked excellent maybe we have our back up for Cresswell 🙂

  6. Enjoyed the game tonight.Nothing magical about it but it was nice to see the nippers out there on the pitch.In the main they did pretty well imo.

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