Curbs hails young Hammers

Sears and Tomkins earn manager's praise

Curbishley: Praised duo

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Alan Curbishley saluted two of his emerging stars after West Ham came from behind to take a point against Everton at Goodison Park.

Young defender James Tomkins made his debut at centre-back while teenage striker Freddie Sears, who scored on his bow against Blackburn last week, almost grabbed the headlines again.

Sears was sent into the fray with the Hammers 1-0 down after Yakubu Aiyegbeni's early opener and his presence unsettled the home defence.

Dean Ashton headed Curbishley's men back on level terms before Sears had a chance to snatch the points in the dying seconds, only for his effort to come back off the foot of the post.

Tomkins hit the bar with an early header, but was at fault for Everton's goal as he allowed Yakubu to get away before powering a drive beyond Robert Green.

Different

Curbishley said: "The way the game went after the break, we feel a little disappointed that we didn't win it.

"Certainly we grew into the game. James Tomkins made an error early on and allowed Yakubu to 'roll' him for their goal. But he hit the bar and got better and better on his debut.

"And so did we. And when we brought on Freddie Sears in the second-half, it gave us all a lift again just like last week when he scored the winner on his debut.

"He gives us something different, and he could easily have scored again with that late effort against the post.

"Everton were desperate for the three points and we were hitting them on the break. We just couldn't finish it off."