Nick Haycock hailed the impact of Irish centre-forward Sean Maguire, as the 18-year-old marked his maiden start with a first goal, to help the Development Squad get back to winning ways in a 3-2 success over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
After Maguire's 11th-minute opener, Elliot Lee struck within just 18 seconds of the second half to seemingly put the Hammers on course for a first victory since 8 February.
But it was not to prove plain sailing thereafter, as the visitors rallied, netting twice in the space of 12 second half minutes, courtesy of Sam Winnall and then Lee Evans' deflected leveller.
Nervy though it was, a spirited West Ham were not to be denied, bagging the winner with just nine minutes to play, when Sebastian Lletget slid home George Moncur's cut-back.
Haycock subsequently admitted it could easily have gone either way, but was nevertheless impressed with the character on display.
He told West Ham TV: "The last 20 minutes became a battle. In the end it's a game we've won but we could equally have lost it at that stage. It was great character, because we've got a young side out there, with as many as nine youth team players involved in the squad.
"To be fair to Wolves they played Monday night and with our game unfortunately being called off due to Jake Larkins' accident, I felt we'd be a little fresher. The game plan was to get out the traps quickly, shut them down from the front and play the game in their half.
"In fairness, I normally like my teams to build the ball from the back, wherever we possibly can, because we're trying to develop quality players to play in the Premier League.
"But on a night like this and with the surface the way it is, I just told them to play the game in the opposition half. We played two up front with that in mind. We fed the ball to the front players, worked the ball into wide areas and got into good goal-scoring positions.
"At times they had to dig in there but it's a great learning curve. To have the character to come back and win the game, I'm delighted for them because they're a great group of lads to work with."
Haycock was similarly effusive in his praise of young forward Maguire, who has had to bide his time since joining from Waterford United at the turn of the year.
"To be fair to Sean, he has been patient and he has listened," Haycock added. "He has come over from Ireland as a part-time player and it has taken him a while to adapt to the intensity we work at. We work the boys hard during the week and it ended with him cramping up towards the end of the game.
"He's had a couple of games with Ireland and the manager saw something in him when he came over on trial. You can see he's lively in and around the edge of the box. It's not a surprise to me, because I've seen it in training. But he jumps, he runs, he goes up against people, he runs off players, and in between players.
"I think him and Elliot could develop a decent relationship up there. I'm delighted for him because he's a fantastic young man as well."