Dixon debut but reserves suffer defeat

TERRY DIXON made his first competitive appearance for West Ham on Monday evening as the reserves crashed to a 4-1 defeat at Chelsea. The young striker joined the action as a second-half substitute, as well as Andrea Zola, but could not prevent Alex Dyer s

TERRY DIXON made his first competitive appearance for West Ham on Monday evening as the reserves crashed to a 4-1 defeat at Chelsea.

The young striker joined the action as a second-half substitute, as well as Andrea Zola, but could not prevent Alex Dyer's side from being heavily beaten, although former Chelsea hitman Frank Nouble at least scored an injury-time consolation against his old club.

The Hammers, who also included first-team players Luis Jimenez, Junior Stanislas, Manuel Da Costa and out-of-favour Scotland international Nigel Quashie in their starting line-up, got off to the worst possible start when Chelsea's Brazilian international defender Alex drove a low free-kick past Peter Kurucz in the third minute.

The rest of the first period was evenly contested but the Blues, for whom Paulo Ferreira and Daniel Sturridge also featured, stepped things up after the break.

And it was the latter who doubled the home side's advantage on 71 minutes when he prodded home from close range.

Just a few minutes earlier, Dixon had replaced Christian Montano as the striker looks to continue his rehabilitation from the serious knee injury that threatened to end his career at Tottenham.

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The 19-year-old had appeared in the recent behind closed doors game against Valenciennes and a friendly with Ipswich Town, so will have been delighted to enjoy some competitive action at last.

He was joined six minutes later by young Zola, son of Hammers boss Gianfranco, when the Italian - who is playing on a non-contract basis - replaced Davide Ferrari.

But the substitutes could not stop West Ham from falling further behind in the 78th minute when Fabio Borini smashed the ball home following a cross from the right.

With six minutes remaining, Borini claimed his second goal of the night and Chelsea's fourth when he latched on to a through ball and beat Kurucz at his near post.

The Hammers refused to throw the towel in, however, and Nouble, who has made four substitute outings for the first team since his summer switch from Stamford Bridge, pulled one back in the dying moments.

The 18-year-old striker was fed by Jimenez and turned to fire home from 25 yards, bagging the best goal of the night.

The reserves will head to Poland next week for a friendly against Arka Gdynia before returning to league action at Fulham on November 3.

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