West Ham United U23s’ quest to secure a playoff position was halted on Tuesday night, as the Hammers were held to a 1-1 draw against Stoke City at the London Stadium.
First-team squad members Ashley Fletcher, Arthur Masuaku and Edimilson Fernandes were all involved for the Hammers on Tuesday night, making it a much more experienced side. Fernandes supplied the Hammers only goal on the night.
It was a great start for the Hammers as Fernandes scored in the opening five minutes. The midfielder made an instant impact, linking up with Fletcher for the opening goal. Fernandes had made an appearance the previous night in West Ham’s Premier League fixture against Chelsea.
The east London side looked good in possession and had the vast majority of chances in the first half.
However, Stoke were awarded a penalty on the 30th minute as Ryan Hill was brought down by captain Declan Rice and with no hesitation the referee pointed to the spot.
Jullen Ngoy stepped up to take the penalty and calmly slotted the ball past Nathan Trott in the Hammers goal. This would prove to be a costly mistake from Terry Wesley’s side.
West Ham were down to 10 men for almost 10 minutes as Domingos Quina went off injured, with U18 Dan Kemp waiting for the ball to go out of play before he could make his way into the game.
First team regular Fernandes continued to cause trouble for the Stoke defence. He forced another shot from just inside the box which was saved by Harry Isted who got down well to parry it out.
Westley’s side found themselves level at the half time whistle which was disappointing for the side after dominating the first half.
Both sides failed to find clear cut chances in the second half. However, Fletcher twice went close to scoring in the final eight minutes but both of his attempts smashed into the side netting.
The team remain in fifth position after Tuesday’s game making it an even harder job to guarantee themselves a spot in the play-offs, with only three games remaining in the regular season.