West Ham start with victory
By Tom Dowsett
Monday 13 Jul 2009 11:09:00
Browse all Match Reports articles

West Ham United had a winning start at the New Recreation Ground as they edged out Grays Athletic 2-1 in their first pre-season friendly of the new campaign.

3169 supporters received great value for money in the July sunshine as Gianfranco Zola gave all 22 players in the matchday squad a run out against a rebuilding Grays team.
West Ham were a class apart with former England midfielder Kieron Dyer tentatively coming back after injury producing a few probing runs.

The Hammers broke the deadlock in the 14th minute when academy product Zovon Hines' toe punt flashed past Grays keeper Paul Nichols.

However Grays did not panic and it didn't take long to peg the Premier League side back. In the 21st minute, Jamie Slabber,the only survivor from last season in the Blue Square Premier, turned the Hammers defence before slotting the ball into the back of the net.



The second half saw a fresh West Ham eleven, in a bid to give everybody some match fitness. Youngsters including Junior Stanislas and Christian Montano showed neat touches and fine runs but the Grays back-line managed to keep the Hammers at bay.

But class eventually told and Montano beat the Grays defence in the 72nd minute, when six yards out he controlled the ball well before forcing the ball home to give the Hammers the victory.

West Ham boss Zola praised the hosts saying: “The gap of five leagues wasn’t obvious. Grays gave all our players a very competitive 90 minutes.

“We were very pleased to get the second goal and could not rest until the final whistle.”

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