MARK STIMSON, the Thurrock boss, praised his young trialists after they suffered defeat in the club’s first pre-season game.

Skipper Stuart Thurgood, was the only player in Thurrock’s 23-man squad officially on the clubs books. But with a point to prove, the other 22 players battled hard against a talented, young West Ham XI.

Frederick Piquionne, the French international started up front for West Ham whilst a relation of Julian Dicks, Jamie started at left-back for Thurrock, with Stimson’s son Charlie, leading the line up-top for the Fleet.

The Hammers took the lead after 21 minutes, when the dangerous Kieran Sadlier tapped home a pass from Dom Vose, who had jinked into the box.

Thurrock soon began to impose themselves on the game and after a spell of sustained pressure, Hassan Ibrahim struck a swerving shot from range that caught Jordan Santiago, the West Ham keeper, out of position levelling the scores 10 minutes before half-time.

West Ham started the second half brightly, as Stimson tried a few other options, including a move that saw Thurgood replaced by Matt Thomson in central midfield.

But West Ham took the lead on 56 minutes, as Sadlier latched onto a clever flick in the centre circle by Brian Turgott. A great turn of pace resulted in Sadlier bearing down on Thurrock keeper, David Hughes, before he coolly slotted the ball home.

Throughout the match Thurrock showed moments of class, moving the ball effectively and with cohesion. At times, they looked like a team who had played together for years as opposed to a team of trialists playing for their Thurrock futures.

Commenting on the performance, Stimson, for whom this was his first game in charge, said: “It was a good work out. The weather was good and the pitch fantastic. We came up against a good youthful West Ham side and I thought the game was played in good spirit.

“We had a lot of boys in on trial and most of them did really well.

“They’re all young kids who have come from academies and so they have all been taught good habits. It’s just a question now of doing those good things in the right areas.

“I thought there were six to eight who did really well and one or two who didn’t do quite as well as they have in training. But we’ll have another look on Monday night, before making some decisions next week.”