West Ham back to winning ways at Colchester as Nolan suffers injury

Pre-season friendly: Colchester United 1 West Ham United 2

West Ham returned to winning ways with a pre-season victory at Colchester United this afternoon thanks to a Nicky Maynard goal and a penalty from Mark Noble, as Kevin Nolan suffered an early injury blow.

It was the home side that made the brighter start, as Freddie Sears’ early cross was dealt with by Winston Reid, before Anthony Wordsworth’s effort forced Jussi Jaaskelainen to punch away.

The Hammers then lost their skipper Nolan to a foot injury, with Dan Potts being introduced from the bench and Matt Taylor moving into central midfield.

The visitors tried to respond as Carlton Cole and trialist Colin Kazim-Richards combined well, but it was Colchester who had the next chance as Wordsworth headed high over.

However, seemingly out of nowhere, West Ham found themselves ahead after 16 minutes through Maynard.

Reid strongly won possession before feeding Gary O’Neil on the right-hand side.

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The midfielder then drove to the byline before floating a cross to the far post.

Cole won the aerial battle, heading the ball into Maynard’s path, and the former Bristol City man volleyed home.

Moments later and the Hammers had the ball in the net again as Cole’s cross was cleverly flicked into the bottom corner by Kazim-Richards, but the Turkish forward was ruled offside.

The busy Kazim-Richards then had the next chance of the game as he latched on to Cole’s flick, before shooting low at Mark Cousins.

Just after the half-hour mark, West Ham doubled their lead from the spot, when Noble sent Cousins the wrong way after Maynard had been clumsily brought down by Magnus Okuonghae.

The hosts looked for an immediate response to conceding as Clinton Morrison headed straight at Jaaskelainen from a corner, and five minutes before the break they pulled a goal back.

O’Neil’s careless pass was pounced on by the home side, and despite the best efforts of Reid, John-Joe O’Toole crossed for an unmarked Wordsworth to convert from close range.

Ricardo Vaz Te came on for Kazim-Richards at the break, but it was Colchester’s half-time substitute Ian Henderson who should have draw his team level when he headed over the first chance of the second half.

Boos rang round the Weston Homes Community Stadium shortly after, when the home side’s penalty appeals were turned down as Sears went down under a challenge from Guy Demel.

Having played in defence the previous night for the Development Squad in their 4-1 defeat against Grays, Bilel Mohsni came on for Carlton Cole in attack and his first touch was to head high over from O’Neil’s cross.

The remainder of the second half was a more subdued affair, as the home side made a total of 10 changes, disrupting the flow and rhythm of the match.

Matt Heath sent a long-range drive wide of Jaaskelainen’s goal, before fellow replacement Drey Wright had the Finnish keeper scrambling to his right, as the striker’s shot clipped the outside of the upright, and the Hammers hung on to claim the victory.

Colchester United: Cousins, Okuonghae (Aldred, 82), Duguid (Henderson, 46), O’Toole (Heath, 61), Morrison (Bond, 61), Sears (White, 69), Bean (Izzet, 61), Eastman (Wright, 61), Wilson (Rose, 69), Wordsworth (Gilbey, 69), Coker.

Subs not used: Pentney.

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel (Spence, 77), Reid, McCartney, Taylor, Noble, O’Neil, Nolan (c) (Potts, 4), Maynard, Cole (Mohsni 63), Kazim-Richards (Vaz Te, 46).

Subs not used: Larkin, Driver, Moncur, Morrison, Hall, Nasha.