Colchester United 1 West Ham 1

After his World Cup involvement in the summer, David James made a return to first team action on Friday night, as West Ham were held to a tough 1-1 draw by second division Colchester United.

The England goalkeeper played the full 90 minutes at Layer Road, where a 78th minute strike from Jermain Defoe looked to have given Hammers victory over the Essex-based outfit until striker Dean Morgan equalised for the hosts in the final minute of the game.

However, it was another of Upton Park's England representatives, Joe Cole, who gave the 4,309 crowd most to cheer about, with a tantalising display in only his second outing since returning from international duty himself.

The 20-year-old midfielder, still sporting his new 'Joe-hican' haircut, was at the centre of everything that was good about the Hammers, running things from midfield and creating several good chances, while also going close to opening his own account for the summer.

Another bonus for Glenn Roeder was the return from injury of veteran midfielder John Moncur, who appeared as a 56th minute substitute for triallist Mamar Mamouni.

Colchester, managed by Steve Whitton, an old Hammers striker from John Lyall's days in charge, started the livelier and had two excellent chances to take the lead inside the opening three minutes.

Striker Scott McGleish was left in the clear twice following slips by Ian Pearce, but James spared the defender's blushes by saving comfortably on both occasions.

The early scare helped spark the Hammers into life, and after Vladimir Labant had fired a 7th minute free-kick over the bar, Cole began to take charge.

A mazy run past three players in the 38th minute ended with a right-foot shot that was well kept out by goalkeeper Richard McKinney, and Cole went close again a minute before the break with a snapshot that was again blocked by the U's stopper.

The second half was a fairly quiet affair, and didn't really provide any real action until the 71st minute, when Cole's perfectly-timed pass set Defoe clean through on goal. The young striker rounded McKinney but amazingly tucked his left foot shot just inches wide of the post with the goal at his mercy.

Seven minutes later, though, Defoe finally got the goal his all-round play once again deserved. A deep cross from substitute Titi Camara was headed back by Garcia into the six-yard-box, where the 19-year-old was waiting to pounce for his third goal in as many pre-season matches.

The goal seemed set to give Hammers their second successive victory after Tuesday's 3-1 win over Southend United, but Morgan popped up in the final minute with an excellent near-post finish to leave honours even.

Next up for Roeder's men is a trip to First Division Norwich City on Tuesday (July 30).

West Ham: James, Schemmel, Repka, Pearce (Soma 89), Winterburn (Minto 71), Cole (McCann 82), Carrick, Mamouni (Moncur 56), Labant (Garcia 66), Defoe (Mehmet 83), Kanoute (Camara 73). Subs unused: Van der Gouw, Iriekpen, Dailly.