King Arthur Masuaku made his pre-season return as West Ham United U23s drew 2-2 with National League side Aldershot Town on Friday evening.
The DR Congo international returned to action after missing the tail-end of last season with a knee problem and impressed during his 45 minutes on the pitch at Rush Green Stadium, defending strongly and providing an assist for Armstrong Okoflex’s opening goal.
Masuaku was powerless to stop Aldershot equalising when Pierre Ekwah’s pass was intercepted by Toby Edser and the No8 powered a left-foot shot high past David Martin, and he had been replaced by the time Kevin Lokko headed Lewis Kinsella’s cross in at the near post early in the second half.
However, the Hammers stuck to their task and were rewarded 19 minutes from time when Okoflex pounced on a loose ball and smashed high into the net from around 12 yards to level.
The Irons controlled the game for long periods in front of watching first-team manager David Moyes and coaches Kevin Nolan, Billy McKinlay and Stuart Pearce, and it was summer signing Okoflex who provided the cutting edge to score his third and fourth pre-season goals.
With David Martin and Masuaku joined in the starting XI by a number of youngsters who have featured for Moyes in pre-season, including defender Jamal Baptiste, midfielders Pierre Ekwah and Keenan Forson and attacker Okoflex,.
Masuaku was the creator, starting a move from deep that saw Mesaque Dju run onto Bernardo Rosa’s pass before cutting the ball back for the left-back. He released Okoflex with a perfectly-weighted ball with the outside of his foot and the No11 kept his composure to finish low across goalkeeper Mitch Walker.
Goalkeeper trialist was Brian Kinnear released from Glasgow Rangers who has featured a number of times with both Joseph Anang and Nathan Trott now away on loans. One missing player from tonight was Thierry Nevers who suffered a groin strain last week.
West Ham United U23s: Martin (Trialist 77), Ashby ©, Greenidge, Baptiste (Laing 60), Masuaku (Longelo 46), Ekwah, Chesters (Diallo 46), Forson (Ashley 46), Okoflex, Rosa, Dju (Swyer 71)
Subs not used: Woods, Forbes
Goals: Okoflex 22, 71