Cole’s goal the difference as West Ham beat Dagenham & Redbridge

Fourth consecutive clean sheet for Hammers this pre-season

West Ham secured their fourth consecutive pre-season clean sheet on Tuesday night, when they beat Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 at Victoria Road.

Carlton Cole’s well-taken goal proved to be the difference between the two sides, as the Daggers provided a stern test for Sam Allardyce’s men.

After a tentative start from both teams, it was West Ham who had the first chance as debutant Matt Taylor found Cole in the box on 11 minutes.

The striker then crossed to Freddie Sears, who completely missed the ball six yards out.

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As the half wore on, both sides came into the game more and Rob Green had to be on full alert when Daggers striker Sam Williams tested the England keeper with a low drive.

However, the Daggers’ best chance of the half came on 21 minutes, when Williams found Luke Howell in the box, but the unmarked midfielder blasted over from 12 yards.

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The Hammers then took the lead on 35 minutes, when Jordan Brown’s cross from the left found its way to Cole, who stylishly turned his defender, before slotting a half-volley into the bottom left-hand corner of Chris Lewington’s goal.

The goal installed confidence in Cole, and the England striker almost doubled his tally moments later when he picked the ball up 30 yards out and sent a dipping, curling shot inches wide of the Daggers goal with Lewington well beaten.

Taylor impressed on the left-hand side of midfield, showing some deft touches and intelligent play as the Hammers went into the break leading 1-0.

In the second half, Allardyce made several changes with Zavon Hines, who is yet to sign a new deal at the club, replacing the ineffective Frank Nouble, and George Moncur and Olly Lee replacing Mark Noble and Jack Collison in midfield.

On 56 minutes, Cole was withdrawn after clashing heads with a Daggers defender and was replaced by West Ham trialist striker Alex Lopez.

Lopez’s cameo appearance lasted just 18, error-strewn, embarrassing minutes, before he was quickly hauled off and replaced by Robert Hall.

Allardyce then made more changes as Sebastien Lletget, Callum McNaughton, Calum Driver, Ahmed Abdullah, Cristiano Montano and Sergio Sanchez came on, with keeper Green the only experienced first-team player on the pitch.

However, it was the Daggers that went closest to scoring as midfielder Howell crossed across the face of goal and Brown cleared the danger.

Minutes later and the hosts should have been level. Gavin Tomlin’s defence-splitting pass put Josh Scott through, but the striker curled his shot over the bar when one-on-one with Green.

Jake Reed then tested Green with a powerful shot, but the keeper managed to get a strong hand to the effort as West Ham held on for the win.

“We always knew it was going to be a difficult game tonight,” said Allardyce.

“In the end, we didn’t create or take as many chances as I would have liked.”

West Ham: Green, O’Brien (Sanchez h/t), Brown (Driver 70), Reid (McNaughton 70), Spence (Abdullah 80), Sears (Montano 63), Collison (Lee h/t), Noble (Moncur h/t), Taylor (Lletget 63), Nouble (Hines h/t), Cole (Lopez 56, Hall 74).

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