A second-half spot-kick from young West Ham United Development Squad midfielder Marcus Browne was enough to rescue Terry Westley’s men a draw in the Premier League 2 against Tottenham Hotspur at the Chigwell Construction Stadium yesterday evening.
In an entertaining London derby, Keanan Bennetts did give Wayne Burnett’s visitors the lead early on, but Portuguese youngster Domingos Quina levelled things up a short while later in the Division 1 clash.
The scores weren’t even for very long with Shilow Tracey putting the Lilywhites back ahead just six minutes later, allowing Browne to ensure the spoils and the points were shared 13 minutes from time, a fair result on reflection for many.
The draw saw the home side remain sixth in the standings, four points off Everton in fifth and five off Swansea City in fourth, meanwhile, the point could prove valuable for the away side, they’re now up and out of the drop zone, hopping a place to tenth.
From the start in Dagenham, young Hammers boss Westley decided on three alterations to his starting Xl from the disappointing home League loss to Sunderland seven days ago.
Returning to the side was fit again defender Josh Pask, he took the place of U18 star Josh Okotcha at the back whilst Ben Johnson also came back, replacing Reece Hammam and there was a rare start for Alfie Lewis coming in for forward Jahmal Hector-Ingram.
Meanwhile, young Lilywhites manager Burnett made just two changes to his own team after they upset League leaders Liverpool at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium, a match that was also played out a week ago.
One of them came between the sticks, 19-year-old Alfie Whiteman was favoured to Luke O’Reilly and the other, just in front of him with Timothy Eyoma making way for Joe Pritchard, Burnett very much keeping the attacking department looking the same.
The end-to-end nature of the affair could be seen right from the get-go at the home of National League outfit Dagenham & Redbridge, with an explosive start taking place.
A mere two minutes in, Browne raced away from defenders in the box for West Ham and was hauled down by one of them, replays showing that he may have had a case for an earlier penalty.
But, the Referee waved away the claims and the side from North London responded by seizing the advantage and ensuring that the East Londoners conceded yet another early goal.
Tracey was able to bomb down the right flank and get a deadly ball across the face of the box, there to turn it in was Bennetts from point-blank range, getting the better of Bermudan Nathan Trott.
However, the Irons responded well, knocking at the door for an equaliser in the minutes that followed, new signing Oladapo Afolayan going the closest, although they got their reward on 20 minutes.
An excellent break into the box and pass by Browne found its way to Quina via a clever dummy by Sead Haksabanovic, he set himself and then fired into the far corner past Whiteman, who could only get a faint hand on the powerful strike.
The keeper was vital in keeping Westley’s men out throughout the whole affair and his saves led to the away side swiftly regaining their slim advantage on 26 minutes.
Bennetts and Tracey combining once more, the former slipping the latter in for the youngster to slide the ball under Trott in a one-on-one scenario, meaning that Spurs marginally led at the break.
But they had never quite looked sure of themselves when holding the advantage, with such names as Browne and Afolayan testing Whiteman as they searched for a leveller.
This finally came just when it looked like the visitors may well hold on as Pritchard fouled substitute Hector-Ingram in the area and Sam Purkiss pointed to the spot.
Browne stepped up and almost took the net off with his pacey effort, former Solihull Moors striker Afolayan had a chance to make it even better for his team in the final ten, though Whiteman was on top form to keep him at bay once more and both had to settle for a 2-2 stalemate.
Westley’s boys would have been very pleased indeed to stop the rot of back-to-back defeats in the PL2, though they’re now without a triumph in four, while their London rivals are undefeated in three.
There will be little time to rest for West Ham after this one, they make the daunting trip to face off with high-flying Liverpool at Kirby Training Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Whereas, Tottenham are back in action even sooner, a day to be precise, and they too have a long journey ahead of them, travelling to South Wales to do battle with Swansea.