A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved

theyflysohigh logo

1989-90 South East Counties League

CHELSEA : South East Counties League

Harlington

0 - 7

19 August 1989

WATFORD : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

2 - 3 (Clarke 2)

26 August 1989

LEYTON ORIENT : South East Counties League

Nutter Lane

1 - 2 (Macari)

2 September 1989

GILLINGHAM : League Cup (First Round)

Garrison Ground

1 - 3 (Macari)

9 September 1989

NORWICH CITY : Southern Junior Floodlit Cup (First Round)

Upton Park

5 - 1 (Clarke 2, Beard, Reed, Rush)

13 September 1989

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : South East Counties League

Chase Lodge

1 - 2 (Macari)

16 September 1989

MILLWALL : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

3 - 2 (Beard 2, [og])

23 September 1989

QUEENS PARK RANGERS : South East Counties League

Harrods Ground

1 - 4 (Heffer)

30 September 1989

SOUTHEND UNITED : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

4 - 1 (Beard 3, Heffer)

14 October 1989

CAMBRIDGE UNITED : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

4 - 0 (Macari 2, Beard, Clarke)

21 October 1989

WEST BROMWICH ALBION : Southern Junior Floodlit Cup (Second Round)

The Hawthorns

2 - 2 (Heffer, Macari)

23 October 1989

FULHAM : South East Counties League

Fire Brigade Ground

1 - 1 (Macari)

28 October 1989

QUEENS PARK RANGERS : FA Youth Cup (First Round)

Upton Park

1 - 1 (Harriott)

30 October 1989

NORWICH CITY : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

2 - 1 (Macari 2)

4 November 1989

CHARLTON ATHLETIC : South East Counties League

Sparrows Lane

1 - 3 (Clarke)

11 November 1989

QUEENS PARK RANGERS : FA Youth Cup (First Round Replay)

Loftus Road

0 - 3

13 November 1989

ARSENAL : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

1 - 2 (Miller)

18 November 1989

WEST BROMWICH ALBION : Southern Junior Floodlit Cup (Second Round Replay)

Upton Park

3 - 2 (Hancock, Heffer, Rush)

20 November 1989

IPSWICH TOWN : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

1 - 2 (Miller)

25th November 1989

GILLINGHAM : South East Counties League

Garrison Ground

1 - 2 (Marquis)

2 December 1989

CHELSEA : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

3 - 3 (Gibbons, Rush, [og])

6 January 1990

QUEENS PARK RANGERS : Southern Junior Floodlit Cup (Third Round)

Upton Park

3 - 0 (Macari 2, Rush)

8 January 1990

WATFORD : South East Counties League

Woodside Stadium

1 - 3 (Beard)

13 January 1990

LEYTON ORIENT : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

2 - 0 (Clarke, Rush)

20 January 1990

MILLWALL : South East Counties League

Langley Park

1 - 0 (Macari)

27 January 1990

SOUTHEND UNITED : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

4 - 4 (Macari 2, Heffer, [og])

3 February 1990

QUEENS PARK RANGERS : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

3 - 1 (Gibbons 2, Heffer)

10 February 1990

FULHAM : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

3 - 1 (Macari, Clarke, Gibbons)

17 February 1990

ARSENAL : Southern Junior Floodlight Cup (Semi-Final)

Highbury

1 - 4 (Reed)

20 February 1990

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

2 - 1 (Beard, Clarke)

24 February 1990

ARSENAL : South East Counties League

London Colney

2 - 0 (Clarke, Macari)

3 March 1990

GILLINGHAM : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

5 - 1 (Gibbons 3, Heffer, Rush [pen])

10 March 1990

PORTSMOUTH : South East Counties League

Moneyfields

1 - 0 (Clarke)

17 March 1990

CHARLTON ATHLETIC : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

2 - 2 (Gibbons, Macari)

24 March 1990

IPSWICH TOWN : South East Counties League

Portman Road

1 - 2 (Clarke)

31 March 1990

NORWICH CITY : South East Counties League

Trowse

3 - 0 (Beard, Macari, Rush)

7 April 1990

CAMBRIDGE UNITED : South East Counties League

Porson Road

4 - 2 (Rush 2, Beard, Heffer)

14 April 1990

PORTSMOUTH : South East Counties League

Chadwell Heath

2 - 1 (Beard, Lowe)

21 April 1990

Banks, Harriott, Paddington, Comerford, Marquis, Reed, Miller (Lowe), Heffer, Marcari, Gibbons, Beard

Banks

Paddington

Horlock

Reed

White

Hancock

Rush

Heffer

Marcari

Clarke

Beard

Banks

Paddington

Horlock (Holland)

Hancock

Marquis

Reed

Rush

Heffer

Marcari

Gibbons

Beard

Banks, Paddington, Horlock, Heffer, Marquis, Hancock, Reed, Rush, Macari, Gibbons, Clarke

Banks

Paddington

Hurlock

Heffer

Marquis

Hancock

Reed

Rush

Beard

Macari

Clarke

Banks

Miller

Hurlock

Heffer

Marquis

Hancock

Reed

Rush

Beard

Gibbons

Clarke

89_09_12 WHU v. Norwich City SJFC 1 89_10_23 WBA v. WHU SJFC 2 89_10_30 WHU v. QPR FAYC 2 89_11_13 QPR v. WHU FAYC 1R 89_11_20 WHU v. West Bromwich Albion 90_01_08 WHU v. QPR SJFC 3 90_02_20 Arsenal v. WHU FAYC 1988-89 SECL 1990-91 SECL Season 1989-90

Manager: Billy Bonds

No programmes issued for West Ham's Home League games at Chadwell Heath

Banks

Padington

Horlock

Heffer

Marquis

Hancock (Richards)

Williamson

Comerford (Lowe)

Beard

Macari

Ibi

Banks, Padington, Marquis, Purdie, Reed, Rush, Heffer, Horlock, Macari, Clarke, Beard

Banks

Horlock

Marquis (Taylor)

Heffer

Basham

Padington

Hancock

Macari

Clarke

Harriott

Beard (Gibbons)

Banks

Padington

Horlock

Heffer

Hancock

Reed

Purdie

Beard (Miller)

Rush

Clarke

Macari

Banks

Padington

Horlock

Heffer

Hancock

Reed

Purdie

Beard (Marquis)

Rush

Clarke (Ibe)

Banks

Marquis

Horlock

Heffer

Hancock

Reed (Padington)

Purdie

Beard (Ibe)

Rush

Clarke

Macari

Banks, Hancock, Purdie, Heffer, Marquis (Harriott), Padington, Reed, Rush, Macari, Clarke, Beard (Basham)

Banks

Hancock

Purdie

Marquis (Padington)

Horlock (Gibbons)

Heffer

Reed

Rush

Macari

Beard

Clarke

Banks, Padongton (Williamson), White, Marquis, Horlock, Hancock, Rush, Heffer, Clarke, Macari (Gibbons), Beard

Banks, Padongton, Horlock, Reed, Marquis, Hancock, Rush, Heffer, Clarke, Macari, Beard

Banks

Padington

Hurlock

Heffer

Marquis

Basham

Rush

Macari

Beard (Gibbons)

Hancock

Harriott

Banks

Padington

Horlock

Basham

Marquis

Rush

Hancock (Clarke / Reed)

Heffer

Beard

Macari

Harriott

Banks, Comerford, Horlock, Lowe, Heffer, Reed, Rush, Williamson (White), Beard, Clarke, Macari

Banks

Comerford

Horlock

Girling (Taylor)

Marquis

Reed

Lowe

Williamson (White)

Beard

Clarke

Heffer

Banks

Padington (Harriott)

Horlock

Basham

Marquis

Lowe

Rush

Heffer

Beard (Reed)

Macari

Clarke

Banks, Tucker, Horlock, Reed, Williamson, Comerford, Heffer, Beard, White (Girling), Miller, Gibbons

Banks, Horlock,Taylor (Comerford), Reed,Marquis,Heffer, Miller, Williamson,Clarke, Macari, Gibbons (Lowe)

Banks

Padington

Horlock

Heffer

Marquis

Rush

Harriott

Macari

Clarke

Taylor (Gibbons)

Hancock

Banks, Padington, Horlock, Heffer, Marquis, Rush, Harriott, Macari, Clarke, Taylor (Gibbons), Hancock

Banks

Padington

Marquis

Reed

Hancock

Horlock

Rush

Heffer

Macari

Beard

Gibbons (Miller)

Banks

Padington

Pickering (Lowe)

Reed

White

Comerford

Hancock

Heffer (Miller)

Macari

Clarke

Beard

Banks, Padington, Horlock, Reed, Marquis, Hancock, Rush, Gibbons (Basham), Macari, Clarke, Heffer

Banks

Padington

Horlock

Reed

Marquis

Heffer

Rush

Gibbons (Miller)

Clarke

Macari

Hancock

Banks, Padington, Hancock, Melly, Reed, Heffer, Rush, Comerford (Gibbons), Macari, Beard (Comerford), Clarke

Banks, Hancock, Hancock, Reed, Marquis, Padington, Heffer, Rush, Macari, Gibbons, Clarke (Beard)

Banks

Padington

Horlock

Reed

Hancock

Marquis

Heffer

Rush

Macari (Basham)

Gibbons (Beard)

Clarke

Banks, Comerford, Horlock, Reed, Hancock, Marquis, Rush, Heffer, Macari, Clarke, Beard

Banks

Padington

Horlock

Hancock

Marquis

Reed

Beard

Heffer

Macari

Gibbons

Clarke

Banks, Padington, Horlock, Reed, Marquis (Miller), Heffer, Rush, Hancock, Macari, Clarke (Beard), Gibbons

Small

Padington

Horlock

Hancock

Marquis

Reed

Rush

Heffer

Macari

Gibbons (Beard)

Clarke

Banks, Beard, White, Hancock, Basham, Reed, Padington, Harriott (Comerford), Macari, Gibbons, Richards

Banks

Padington

Horlock

Hancock (Holland)

Marquis

Reed

Rush

Heffer

Macari

Gibbons (Beard)

Clarke

Billy Bonds:

I didn't expect a result at Chelsea; because of injuries further up the ladder our team was very depleted against the experienced Blues. But I also didn't expect the drubbing we received.

The Blues played well and were two-up at half-time. Our cause was further weakened in the 75th minute when we lost Darren Hancock and 16-year-old schoolboy Tony Richards made our schoolboys five.

Chelsea crashed in another five goals. We were outplayed, outfought and outrun. It was an eye-opener for the lads. Hopefully they will have learned from the experience.

Billy Bonds:

The lads played very well against Watford, who were one of the top four sides last season, and we were unfortunate not to win. A goal down at the interval, after we lost the ball and Watford hit us on the break, we turned round with plenty of spirit and were soon leading 2-1. During this period the lads played some of the best football I have seen from them since I took over and this was very satisfying. We equalised in the 50th minute when Macari set Clarke up and a defender rushing in to try and save the situation could only help the ball into his own net. Our second goal was a classic. It would be considered a good goal in any class. The build-up was sharp and accurate and it finished again with a Macari Clarke combination, this time Clarke firing in from just outside the box. We looked good for victory at this stage but then two bad defensive errors in the closing 20 minutes floored us. Watford capitalised on their luck by sticking both away and we trailed by two goals to three.

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

Away game played at Chadwell Heath

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

SORRY NO IMAGE

Billy Bonds:

I felt sorry for the lads but it was another lesson for them to learn. Until we cut out our own errors we will not win matches. Still our overall performance was a hundred-per-cent better than the week before so that is something to work on.

At Leyton Orient we included Michael Basham and Marvin Harriett in our side. Both are still schoolboys and are pupils at the FA GM Soccer School at Lilleshall. It was nice to be able to give them a run as we only see them during the school holidays.

In an even game we took the lead six minutes before half time with a good goal. Simon Clarke split the defence with a through ball which Michael Macari took in his stride before beating the goalkeeper.

Unfortunately after the break Orient came more into the game and they took charge with two goals which earned them the win.

We had a first round defeat in the SECL League Cup when Gillingham won by 3-1 on their ground at the Garrison, Brompton.

The interval score was one-all, our goal being scored by Mick Macari. However, the Gills opened strongly in the second half, and compiled a 3-1 lead that left us with an uphill fight for the rest of the way. It was fairly even during the closing period, and the defences held firm until the end.

 

Spurs won the SECL championship last season, and are continuing to be one of the best teams in the competition.

They gained a first-half lead, but the Hammers recovered well to equalise through Macari. Our team was doing splendidly, but the homesters broke through again a quarter-hour from time to regain the lead. Spurs held on to the 2-1 advantage until the end, but although eventual defeat was disappointing the display was most encouraging.

It is pleasing to see us settling down to a fairly regular line-up and a squad that works well together. The early problems appear to be on the way to solution, and present indications are that we can steadily climb the table with hopes of a top-half placing.

The Youth Team gave its best performance so far this season by defeating Norwich City in the First Round of the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup at Upton Park.

The game had been due to take place on the previous evening, but around three hours prior to the kick-off there was a torrential rainstorm which effectively put paid to any hopes of the game even starting. The Norwich team duly arrived, and after a brief discussion their administrators agreed to them returning the following evening to fulful the engagement.

With so little time to advise of the amendment, spectators were mainly limited to officials of both clubs; which was a pity, as the youngsters deserved a wider encouragement for their efforts.

Our team had a one-goal advantage at the interval, but overpowered the Canaries in the second half. Simon Clarke scored twice; Simon Beard, Peter Reed and Matthew Rush each added a goal, and Norwich got one in reply. Final count: Hammers 5, Canaries 1.

Programme dated 12 September

Our youth team moved away from the foot of the table by defeating Millwall at our Chadwell Heath Ground. The weather was fine with conditions ideal for football, and the teams provided an interesting contest.

Simon Beard opened the scoring for us around the 25-minute mark, but the Young Lions were able to equalise when our defenders were guilty of slack marking. Beard netted his second a couple of minutes prior to the interval and almost immediately the Hammers set up a good move to threaten another score. As events turned out the ball ended in the net to make the interval count 3-1 in our favour, as a defender got his foot to it before our potential scorer; the outcome was one in the 'own goal' column.

The second half continued in pleasing fashion, but with about a quarter-hour to go we conceded another goal. The visitors spurred their endeavours for the equaliser, but the Hammers held firm and merited the 3-2 victory.

Our under-18s had an away fixture v Queens Park Rangers. It was played at Harrods Ground, West London.

We opened well, and took the lead in the fifth minute through Steven Heffer. The Hammers continued to hold the advantage throughout the first-half, and it was a satisfactory 45 minutes from our viewpoint.

There was an enforced substitution through Paul Marquis receiving concussion, but that was only one problem which arose during the second-half. Rangers scored four times after the interval to record their first win of the season; their end-of-the-game jubilation was in contrast to our disappointment.

Free of Reserve Team calls, we were able to field a fairly full-strength side against Southend United at Chadwell Heath. The 4-1 victory enabled us to begin a hoped-for climb up the table which would be more indicative of the potential of the Youth Team squad.

Eight of the team for this match had played against Portsmouth Reserves at Upton Park on the previous evening, but they outplayed Southend during the first half and netted three goals without reply. Although tiring somewhat after the interval the Hammers held the Shrimpers to one apiece during the second session, and ended comfortable 4-1 winners. Simon Beard did well to complete a hat-trick, and Steven Heffer's goal was excellently taken.

We originally had a blank date on October 21, as it was reserved in the schedule for the Second Round of the SEC League Cup (we went out in the First Round). However, thanks to the co-operation of Cambridge United a fixture was brought forward from the end of the season to fill the gap.

The weather was very inclement, a swirling wind across the expanse of Chadwell Heath making it difficult for ball-control. However, the Hammers overcame all the difficulties, and gained a comfortable four-nil victory.

We scored two goals in each half, opening strongly with Simon Beard (five minutes) and Simon Clarke (nine minutes) getting us away to a quick start, Cambridge then held out until the end of an hour's play before Mick Macari made it three-nil; ten minutes later Macari netted his second, and we had every reason to retire happily with another couple of points.

Our Second Round tie against West Bromwich Albion was played at The Hawthorns on Monday October 23.

The Hammers did not have time to settle down before they found themselves a goal in arrears, the homesters making a flying start by scoring in the fifth minute.

It took a quarter-hour for our team to equalise. Simon Beard gained possession in the penalty-area, and as the ball ran loose Mick Macari levelled the score. Then we deservedly took the lead; Darren Hancock made ground down the flank, and his first-time centre went to the far post where Steve Heffer converted from close range.

Albion began the second half in similar fashion to their approach to the first - but faster. Our defence needlessly conceded an equaliser, and the score remained at 2-2 until the final whistle; that was hardly surprising, as conditions worsened on a heavy pitch.

Our match against Fulham on Saturday October 28 was played at the Fire Brigade Ground near Epsom and Ewell Station. The weather conditions were appalling, with players and officials rapidly becoming soaked bv the rain and the wind causing havoc with soccer skills.

In the circumstances the playefS coped well, and eventually shared two goals. Ours came prior to the interval: Simon Beard and the opposing 'keeper went up to contest a centre into the goal-area, the Fulham player palmed it away, and as the ball dropped to the ground Mick Macari contacted to net a typical 'striker's goal'. The opposition equalised during the second half

This season's first venture in the national youth tournament took place at Upton Park on Monday October 30. Queens Park Rangers were the opposition in the First Round.

It was our fourth meeting with QPR in the FA Youth Cup; on previous occasions they had won by 1-0 (at Upton Park) and 3-1 (on their ground); we had a 3-1 victory here and then went on to win the trophy.

On this occasion it was a hard, well-balanced contest, with little quarter given by the strong-built visiting side who had defeated us 4-1 three months earlier in a SECL match on their West London ground.

The Rangers got away to an early start with a seventh-minute goal; it followed a corner-kick to the far post that was headed back across our goalmouth into the corner of the net. The opposition held that lead for nearly an hour, but a goalmouth scramble in the 61st minute ended wilh Marvin Harriott equalising.

The subsequent exchanges got distinctly robust at times, but the referee handled it well and made a minimum of bookings. The 'keepers had plenty of action, Steven Banks doing particularly well for us.

Both teams showed several numerical changes from the printed programme. Rangers' were due mainly to the fact they had given their squad in what appeared to be a 4-3-3 formation - a not unusual occurrence these days when they fail to check shirt numbers.

Norwich City were the visitors to Chadwell Heath, with three games on the same day put a strain on our resources, but it also gave an opportunity to 'blood' three youngsters for their first full game in the under-18's. The trio of debutants were Tony Cummer-ford, John Lowe and Danny Williamson. Mick Macari added another couple of goals to his tally by netting each side of half-time. The first was in the fourth minute, the other being recorded six minutes after the interval. The Canaries responded with one after that, but we retained the lead and took both points by the 2-1 score. The game was somewhat run-of-the-mill with no outstanding features, but we could be satisfied with the general performance of our team.

Our under-18'srun of six undefeated games came to an end at Sparrows Lane, New Eltham.

The well-placed Charlton Athletic team received a surprise when Simon Clarke opened the score at the end of 20 minutes' play, but they recovered to draw level before the interval; subsequently the Athletic gained the upper hand and finally ran out winners by 3-1. Our team played well, but we were lacking some of our more experienced players.

Two of the squad made their debut in Hammers' colours John Girling and Darren Taylor.

The replay of our First Round tie in the FA Youth Cup took place at the Loftus Road ground on Monday November 13, Queens Park Rangers having forced a 1 -1 draw here a fortnight previously.

Although weather in the London area was generally foggy - causing traffic problems of considerable proportions -the Rangers' ground was hardly affected and conditions for play were good.

Unfortunately the evening ended in a 0-3 defeat for our youngsters, although the final score hardly reflected the narrow margin between the teams' abilities.

The Hammers struck the woodwork a couple of times during the open ing half, but were two down at half-time. The West Londoners had a good margin to play with after forcing this lead, and deserved the right to progress in the competition.

We gave away, some bad goals, but showed a considerable amount of quality at times, and we did not feel that the score line truly reflected the play.

The match v Arsenal at Chadwell Heath on the morning of Saturday, November 18 was used by both clubs to give trials to newcomers and younger players in addition to some of their 'regulars'. The young Gunners are at present contesting forthe championship of the South East Counties League, but table-positions in the competition are not as important as the objective of discovering and encouraging the progress of potential senior talent.

This game proved to be a good example. We included two for the first time - local lad Jason Tucker and schoolboy Simon Miller. Tucker played his part in the rearguard and Miller scored a good goal to put us one up. Arsenal equalised before the interval, but our opportunity to go ahead once more was lost when a penalty kick rebounded from the visitors' woodwork. The North Londoners made the most of their let-off by netting the decider to take both points by a 2-1 margin.

Our replayed Second Round tie in this competition was agreed at fairly short notice, only five days before the date of Monday, November 20. It brought the West Bromwich Albion youth squad to Upton Park for the first time, following our 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns.

As on the previous occasion, the Midlanders went off to a flying start; this time it was literally within seconds of the kick-off that they were one up, and they held on to that advantage until after the interval.

The second half saw the game swing in our favour, and goals by Steve Heffer, Matthew Rush and Darren Hancock deservedly gave the Hammers a 3-1 advantage; Hancock's counter followed a spectacular burst through and a cracking shot that gave the visiting 'keeper no chance. Albion persevered in their task and scored again just before the end; the 3-2 final count represented a fair reflection of an excellent game, and proved the point that our group of youngsters have some fair prospects for the future.

We are now at home in the Quarter-Finals, which are provisionally pencilled in among the fixtures in the early part of the New Year. Our opponents are to be Queens Park Rangers, who recently won their FA Youth Cup replay at Loftus Road after a 1 -1 draw here in the first encounter.

It was a sunny but somewhat chilly morning at Chadwell Heath last Saturday for the match against Ipswich Town. Our team had the sun at their backs during the first half, and the visiting defenders experienced some problems in dealing with high balls; but, apart from that, the Hammers had early advantage and Simon Miller's 15th minute goal brought a deserved half-time lead.

The Town side did better after the interval and scored twice in the early stages. They had to repulse several attacks by our team, but survived some goalmouth melees to hold on to the lead. It was a game from which we might have earned a point, and in that sense Ipswich had cause to be satisfied with their 2-1 victory which lifted them above us in the table. Nevertheless, it was in some respects a disappointing overall performance from our team, because in recent weeks there was a marked improvement after five successive defeats in the opening matches of the schedule.

 

Our youth squad paid its second visit of the season to the Garrison Ground at Brompton in Kent when they fulfilled a League fixture there on December 2, The previous occasion was in September for a League Cup tie, when the Gillingham team won by 3-1.

The Hammers did a little better on this occasion, but did not avoid defeat as the homesters completed a 'double' by scoring twice to our once. Foggy conditions made it extremely difficult to follow play from the touchline to both ends, but general agreement was that the home side had the better of the exchanges. One up at half-time, they went further ahead before Paul Marquis netted for us with a quarter-hour to go.

 

According to the fixture-list our match against Chelsea on Janauary 6 was marked as an away game. However, as the West Londoners had beaten us by 7-0 at Harlington on the opening day of the season it was our turn to be hosts for the first game of 1990. In fact, due to postponements it was the youth team's first League engagement for over a month. Our team did much better on this occasion, and there was plenty of interest in the game at Chadwell Heath. The Hammers held the lead three times, but the Blues fought back to gain a 3-3 draw; it would be fair to say that the visitors took advantage of defensive slips to net their trio, but one of their defenders was equally culpable by conceding an 'own goal' during the second half. The interval score was two-each, our couple being netted by Matthew Rush and Tony Gibbons.

The Rangers may have had some team selection problems, as they did not provide their line-up until 3.45 that afternoon. The published XI certainly had difficulty in finding their positions, as within a minute of the kick-off Rangers found themselves one down; a centre from our left flank was moved on in the penalty-area for Michael Macari to convert from close range.

Our team was playing some delightful football that was well-matched by the visitors. However, it nearly went to 2-0 in our favour when a tremendous 30-yard-plus drive by Darren Hancock rebounded from the cross-bar with the 'keeper well beaten. It remained one-nil at the interval.

Rangers got away with it a couple of minutes after the restart, when - following a corner - a header from close range struck one of their defenders on the line.

Both sides had goal attempts before the Hammers eventually netted a second with seven minutes to go. Matthew Rush forced his way into the penalty-area and beat his man before hitting the ball across the keeper and just inside the far post.

That appeared to settle the issue, but the visitors got their coup-de-grace two minutes later as a centre from the right touchline was converted by Macari for his second of the night. It was a splendid Hammers' performance to take us into a Semi-Final.

The Watford youth team generally dominated the match at their Woodside Stadium ground, but the Hammers side gave them some problems soon after the start of the second-half.

Two-up at the interval, the Hornets had their lead cut as Simon Beard netted a couple of minutes after the restart; however, Watford restored their two-goal margin and ended the game 3-1 ahead.

Our starting line-up included a newcomer - Leon Pickering, a defender from North London. We had an enforced substitution just before half-time, Steven Heffer going out of the action with a shin injury.

As we were without a Reserve Team commitment on Saturday, January 20 it enabled us to select from our full squad of youth players for that morning's home game against Leyton Orient. The O's are having a successful season, and were occupying fourth place in the table at the time of their visit. Their useful side kept ours at bay for an hour until Matthew Rush put the Hammers ahead. Shortly afterwards Simon Clarke made it two-nil in our favour, and from then onwards our team maintained its two-goal advantage until the final whistle.

Our match against Millwall on January 27 was played at Langley Park. With a top-strength squad available, the Hammers gave a good performance to secure the points against a Lions' XI which equally contributed to an interesting competitive encounter. A goalless first half appeared likely to continue throughout the second 45 minutes; but with just over a quarter-hour remaining on the clock, Mick Macari fastened on to the ball after Matthew Rush's shot had been parried by the goalkeeper; he gave the defender no second chance and scored his ninth SECL goal of the season.

That proved to be the decider, so our youngsters registered their third victory during their four engagements in the month of January.

The engagement against Southend United at Gloucester Park in Basildon should have been an away fixture. However, by mutual arrangement it took place on our ground at Chadwell Heath. The weather was really appalling; it rained steadily prior to the kick-off, but the managers decided to send out their teams to face the elements. However, any hopes that the weather would clear up were patently optimistic as the match progressed, and it was a wise decision to dispense with the half-time break; so the teams turned round without any interval.

The visitors were one up in the first 30 seconds, but then conceded an 'own goal' to put us on level terms before the opening 45 minutes came to a conclusion. The second half brought a spate of half-a-dozen goals. In the circumstances it was a fair share-out that each side netted three to make the final score 4-4, as both sets of youngsters put up a brave show which pleased the fans who had turned out to give loyal support. Mick Macari scored twice (59 and 75 mins.). Steven Heffer's goal for us was sandwiched between (in the 62nd minute).

The fixture at Chadwell Heath on February 10 was against Queens Park Rangers, who won their home match against us last September by 4-1. Our team avenged that reverse by 3-1, although the West Londoners opened the score in this return encounter. The equaliser came a couple of minutes before half-time, Steven Heffer being our scorer. Tony Gibbons netted twice during the second-half, the first arriving five minutes after the interval and the clincher 10 minutes from time. It was a good all-round performance, with Matthew Rush doing particularly well. That was our fifth meeting with Rangers this season, as we played against them in two cups. They won in the FA Youth Cup by 3-0 after a 1 -1 draw here; but we eliminated them from the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup by a like 3-0 margin.

The Fulham team that opposed us at Chadwell Heath last week felt the full force of our attack. They were two down at half-time and conceded a third during the second-half. Mick Macari, Tony Gibbons and Simon Clarke scored our goals in what turned out to be an easy victory. It was our fifth in a row undefeated in League games, and there has been a notable improvement in our position in the table.

 

The game started at a frenetic pace with much of the action being confined to midficld where West Ham struggled to find much space.

However, Matthew Rush looked composed and occasionally winger Tony Gibbons made encouraging forays into the Arsenal danger area.

After 37 minutes West Ham had their lines! chance of the half when a precision pass found lanky striker Simon Clarke who volleyed first lime only to see his shot well saved by Gunners keeper James Will.

Five minutes later Hammers keeper Stephen Banks saved point blank from Stuart Young much to the relief of full-back Richard Faulkner who made a hash of a back pass.

A minute before half-time Arsenal went ahead through Andrew Cole who made no mistake from IK yards when West Ham's defence failed to clear a low cross. Disaster struck again minutes into the second half when a lapse in concentration let in speedy Neil Heaney to make it 2-0.

Showing commendable spirit Hammers mounted something of a comeback as Arsenal sal back on their two goal cushion. Matthew Rush headed inches wide after a move down the right before Peter Reed reduced the deficit with a weakly hit volley that somehow found a way into the Arsenal net via keeper Will.

A brief spell of Hammers pressure caused a lew anxious moments in the Arsenal back four. But any hopes of a dramatic finish were squashed when Arsenal struck with two late goals to deservedly book their place in the final.

Table-topping Tottenham Hotspur sustained what for them was a shock defeat at Chadwell Heath a fortnight ago (February 24). However, it was not quite such a surprise for our officials, as prior to that engagement our team had enjoyed an undefeated run of five games (including four wins) in their League fixtures. The Hammers took the lead in the 15th minute with Simon Clarke's goal, but Spurs quickly hit back to equalise. The third goal in 10 minutes' play regained our lead, our net-finder on that occasion being Simon Beard. There was no further scoring in an encounter which produced a considerable amount of good football; nevertheless, the 2-1 margin in our favour could well have been more, although it brought satisfaction to reverse the same count recorded against us when we visited Spurs last September.

It was a statistical fact that this was the first Hammers win under Billy Bonds' managership of our Club; but it has been very much due to Bill's early-season coaching and leadership of our youth squad that the under-18s recovered so well from five successive defeats in their opening fixtures of the current campaign.

 

Our fixture versus Arsenal at the University College Ground, London Colney, Herts gave us an opportunity to partially avenge that defeat in the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup a dozen days earlier, although the Gunners' ground advantage was a factor to be taken into account.

However, this game was to bring another 'first' - and another shock to the other North London club. It was Paul Hilton's initial occasion in charge of our youth team, and they gave him good cause for celebration by recording a most convincing 2-0 victory.

Mick Macari put the Hammers ahead a minute before half-time, but Arsenal had an opportunity to equalise when awarded a penalty.

Steven Banks dived to save the spot-kick, but it was ordered to be re-taken. The kicker chose to place the second attempt to the opposite side, but our 'keeper again foiled him to keep us ahead.

Simon Clarke settled the destination of the points with another goal 10 minutes from time. It maintained the status quo for the top-of-the-table sides, but we had the satisfaction of beating both.

The away game against Portsmouth on March 17 was more difficult than our respective table positions indicated, although the Hammers recorded their sixth successive League victory at the conclusion of a closely-contested 90 minutes.

Our performance was not as impressive as on recent occasions, but it was reasonable to say that the bumpy dry pitch at Moneyfields was not conducive to on-the-ground passing movements.

The solitary goal came in the 32nd minute; it was something of a 'spectacular', an overhead kick by Simon Clarke that caught the Pompey defence unawares. At the other end our defence had a sound performance, and debutant goalkeeper Keith Small had the pleasure of recording a 'shut out' as deputy for Steven Banks who was unavailable due to virus infection.

Our winning run was terminated, although we eventually collected one point from the match against Charlton Athletic at Chadwell Heath. The South Londoners scored once each side of the interval to build up a two-nil lead, and with a quarter-hour to go they appeared set for victory. However, our team was never out of the reckoning, and hopes were raised when Tony Gibbons volleyed home a centre to make it 1 -2 against us. With eight minutes left on the clock, Mick Macari collected the ball on the 18-yard line, turned to one side and shot home the equaliser. The 2-2 result was a pretty fair summary of a good game.

Our Youth team's run of success was terminated at Ipswich Town's Portman Road Ground last Saturday week (March 31).

The Hammers' under-18s had recorded eight wins and two draws in the 10 League games from mid-January, which produced a steady climb to sixth place in the table.

We naturally hoped to continue unbeaten as the Suffolk club were three places behind us in the standings; but at the conclusion of a closely-contested encounter the count was 2-1 in favour of the opposition. That scoreline could have been more to our liking, but considerable credit was due to the Town youngsters who ran harder and had a marked edge in general enthusiasm to recover from being a goal in arrears after 20 minutes play. Simon Clarke's 1 Oth of the season was well taken, as after gaining possession in the penalty-box he volleyed the ball to give the opposing 'keeper no chance of making a save. Ipswich drew level prior to the interval and their second-half goal settled the issue. The dry, bumpy pitch was no excuse for our defeat; after all, the conditions were the same for both teams!

A half-time change enabled us to give 45 minutes of action to newcomer Matt Holland, who briefly 'subbed' in the previous match.

 

Our youth team made its longest trip of the season for a League game when they played the away fixture against Norwich City at Trowse on April 7.

It was rewarded with a 3-0 victory, although the task proved easier than anticipated because many of the opposing XI were 16-year-olds. The Canaries' management had decided to include several of their older youth players in their Combination team with a view to testing them against stronger opposition on the same day, as it is nearing the season's end and time to decide who to retain for the 1990-91 campaign. (The Canaries' Reserves drew 0-0 at Arsenal.)

Therefore our own young side met players from their comparable age-group, and gained a competently-earned brace of points on a bumpy pitch.

Matthew Rush opened the score in the 38th minute; Simon Beard made it 2-0 a minute after half-time; and Michael Macari pushed it to three with 10 minutes to go.

Our concluding away fixture versus Cambridge United produced a 4-2 victory, but only after we had been twice in arrears.

The home-side took an early lead, but Matthew Rush put us level after a quarter-hour's play. Another goal for Cambridge gave them a 2-1 interval advantage, and they had hopes of avenging the four-nil defeat we inflicted upon them at Chadwell Heath last October. However, two minutes after the restart, Beard was on the mark for the third League match in succession, thus setting the scene for a continuing evenly-balanced tussle. The tide turned our way ten minutes from time, Steven Heffer making it 3-2; then, with four minutes to go, Beard made it safe with his second goal. So it ended 4-2 in our favour.

Our final home match took place at Chadwell Heath on April 21, against Portsmouth who we had defeated in an away game during March by 1 -0. The Hammers completed the double in another close contest. We gained a half-time lead a minute before the interval with a well-taken goal by Simon Beard. Pompey gained a second-half equaliser, but John Lowe got our winner 18 minutes from time.

So we concluded our League schedule with three successive victories, and an overall record that reads: won 15, drawn 4, lost 11, goals 62-52 A remarkable fact about those figures is that since mid-January, our youth squad sustained only one defeat in the SECL. They drew twice and won eleven of the concluding 14 fixtures, and the only loss was by a 1 -2 margin. So congratulations are due to Billy Bonds, Tony Carr, Paul Hilton, Jimmy Frith, Stan Burke and their colleagues who have, at various periods, been involved in managing and coaching the squad.