West Ham United handed Valon Behrami the perfect welcome back to competitive action in the shape of a 6-0 Barclays Premier Reserve League South thrashing of Birmingham City.

The Switzerland midfielder, back after six months out with a knee ligament problem, was back to his irrepressible best against the Blues, laying on the opening goal for hat-trick hero Zavon Hines.

While the sight of Behrami bounding around the Boleyn Ground pitch was most welcome, then so were the performances of new boys Alessandro Diamanti, Manuel Da Costa and Davide Ferrari.

Diamanti, in particular, caught the eye with a display full of incisive passes, clever flicks and powerful shooting with his trademark left foot - capping a memorable evening with two fantastic free-kicks.

For manager Alex Dyer, who saw his team bounce back from a 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa a week ago, the evening could not have gone much better in front of a 1,250-strong crowd.

The hosts roared out of the traps, creating chance after chance and, in all honesty, had the match won inside the first nine minutes.

Josh Payne had already fired narrowly wide before Behrami laid on the opening goal for Hines after just 80 seconds, sliding a superb pass through to the Jamaican, who cut inside his marker before lashing a left-foot rocket inside Colin Doyle's near-post.

Behrami almost repeated the trick three minutes later, only for Hines to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from the Blues' former England Under-21 defender Scott Dann.

With Diamanti dictating play from a free role behind the front-two of Hines and Frank Nouble, West Ham were positively purring against a shell-shocked Birmingham.

It was Nouble who was next to threaten, seeing his shot deflected wide for a corner before powering Diamanti's resulting flag-kick against the crossbar with Doyle beaten all-ends-up.

The second goal was not long in coming, however, and when the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper pushed Payne's skimming 25-yarder around the post, it was only delaying the inevitable.

Diamanti and Behrami, who has been giving the former AS Livorno Calcio forward lifts to and from training at Chadwell Heath, worked a short-corner routine before finding Payne. The 18-year-old laid the ball to captain N'Gala, who side-stepped a defender before curling a delicious shot into the top right-hand corner.

Less than ten minutes old, the game was already up, but there was still so much more to enjoy.

Birmingham did threaten sporadically, though their best chance came when Hammers goalkeeper Marek Stech saw his clearance cannon off Jake Jervis and spin narrowly wide of the target.

Having survived that scare, Diamanti re-assumed centre-stage, sending a truly marvellous free-kick up and over the Birmingham defensive wall and past a motionless Doyle.

Four minutes later and it was 4-0. Da Costa's 60-yard pass found Fabio Daprela, who instantly found Nouble. The 17-year-old laid square to strike-partner Hines, who cut inside and slotted low into the net.

Into the second half and the hosts continued where they left off.

Nouble should have added fifth seven minutes after the break following a sumptuous build-up involving Da Costa, Behrami and Diamanti, only for the teenager to chip his shot on to the roof of the net.

Behrami's night ended to a rapturous round of applause 13 minutes after the interval, as Dyer replaced him with Danny Kearns.

Hines completed his hat-trick three minutes later, capitalising on a mix-up between David Joyce and Will Packwood before lifting the ball over the advancing Doyle.

On to the 65th minute and Diamanti stole the show again, bending another superlative free-kick beyond Doyle after Hines had been flattened by substitute Jamie Dunphy.

It was a fitting finale to an outstanding debut from the 26-year-old, who also received a rousing ovation when he was replaced by Anthony Edgar moments later.

No doubt inspired by what he had seen from the bench, Edgar was soon into the action, testing the busy Doyle with no fewer than three shots from outside the penalty area, while Hines came close to netting his fourth.

Birmingham came close to netting a consolation late on, but Stech was in no mood to be charitable, diving full-length to push Luke Hubbins' shot aside to complete an excellent night's work.

West Ham United reserves: Stech, Ferrari (Fry 77), Daprela, N'Gala, Da Costa, Payne, Quashie, Behrami (Kearns 58), Hines, Nouble, Diamanti (Edgar 67)
Subs unused: Street, Zola

Birmingham City reserves: Doyle, Joyce, Rowe, Dann (Dunphy 46), Preston (Hawker 58), Packwood, Hubbins, Sammons, Hronec, Jervic, Ntambwe (Williams 82)
Sub unused: Butland