BRAINTREE TOWN 0 WEST HAM XI 2
Former Colchester United loanee Elliott Lee was on target twice for a young West Ham development side as they beat Braintree Town 2-0 at the Amlin Stadium.
Braintree boss Alan Devonshire named a stronger side than the one made up mainly of triallists that had beaten Ryman League premier division side Kingstonian 3-2 the night before.
There were still a couple of players looking to earn deals, though, as Devonshire continued to hone his squad.
Midfielder Mitch Brundle was one of those in the starting line-up, but the Iron boss opted not to name the other two on the official starting teamsheet in an effort to fox watching scouts from rival clubs looking to snatch away any prospective Iron signings.
It was a bright start from the hosts with James Mulley testing Hammers keeper Tim Brown with a couple of early efforts.
They moved the ball well with a crisp tempo and posed particular problems for the Hammers from dead ball situations with Dan Sparkes making some excellent deliveries into the box.
However, the youthful skills of West Ham’s development side were never far away and Braintree were lucky to stay level when their defence was sliced open by an incisive move that ended with Kieran Sadlier firing just wide.
It stayed 0-0, but chances came and went at both ends as the game passed the half-hour mark.
Sparkes really should have done better when the ball came to him from Brundle’s long throw, but he snatched at his shot and sent it over the bar, while Elliott Lee forced Nick Hamann into a good save from a fast-flowing West Ham move.
The Hammers striker then fired over after breaking clear of the Braintree back line, but he made no mistake at the third time of asking to give the visitors the lead in the 40th minute.
Hamann made a great save from Josh Cullen’s driven effort, but his defence failed to clear the danger and Lee pounced to fire home from close range.
It was a lead that the visitors deserved after how they had finished the half and with the questions they asked of the Braintree back line However, West Ham made six changes at the break and Braintree once again started the half with more attacking intent.
Like in the first half, though, they were wasteful when chances did come their way, with Mulley scooping a shot over the bar from a good position.
And West Ham made them pay on the hour mark when Lee found the back of the net a second time for a 2-0 lead.
Devonshire decided to introduce new blood with 65 minutes of the game gone as the two triallists, Ryan Peters and Sparkes made way for Ryan Case, Louis Cutajar, Dominic Green and Bez Gomiz.
There was little fluency from either side though and Braintree’s night was completed when Kenny Davis’ penalty kick was easily saved late on after James Mulley had been bundled over in the box.
Braintree Town: Nick Hamann, Ryan Peters (Ryan Case 65), Sam Habergham, Matt Paine, Alan Massey, Trialist (Louis Cutajar 65), Kenny Davis, Trailist (Dominic Green 65), Dan Sparkes (Bez Gomis 65), Mitch Brundle, James Mulley.
Subs not used: Carl Pentney, Joe Maybanks, Joe Moore.
West Ham XI (starting line-up first half): Tim Brown, Sam Westley, Lewis Page, Josh Cullen, Reece Burke, Josh Pusk, Blair Turgott, Kieran Bywater, Elliott Lee, Seb Lletget, Kieran Sadlier.
West Ham XI (starting line-up second half): Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton, Sam Westley, Manny Onariase, Moses Makasi, Tunja Akinola, Kyle Knoyle, Grady Diangana, Triallist, Seb Lletget, Elliott Lee, Kieran Sadlier.