It was a stalemate as West Ham United reserves drew 0-0 at home to Chelsea last night, but a positive performance from Steve Brown's side took precedence over the result.
Hammers started brightly as Carlton Cole fired in a volley in the first minute but it slammed into the hoardings just wide of the post. Moments later Jimmy Walker was called into action to make a diving save at the feet of Ricardo Fernandes, who found space in the box.
Cole saw another effort curl just over the bar after 26 minutes and Walker made another excellent diving save in the 34th minute, palming clear a fierce drive from Israel striker Ben Sahar.
Chelsea pressed forward again straight away and Fernandes fired in a left-footed shot from outside the box but Walker held it well.
Hammers seized back possession and Junior Stanislas combined well with Cole before firing in a cross from the left wing, but it travelled too far in front of Sears and out of play.
Just after the break Sears nearly headed the Hammers in front from a knock-down in the box by James Collins, but his effort just edged over the crossbar. Jonathan Spector had a left-foot volley sail centimetres over the bar minutes later after he rolled the ball into space 25 yards from goal.
In the 55th minute Collins clipped the roof of the net with a well-taken header from Stanislas' cross. But it was Collins' last impact on the game as Steve Brown brought him off on the hour mark for James Tomkins.
Hammers carved out another opportunity in the 67th minute as Lee Hales set Cole up to turn and fire in a curling effort but Henrique Hilario gathered. Cole was replaced by Jack Jeffery two minutes later.
Walker's brave goalkeeping denied substitute Miroslav Stoch a clear shot on goal after a misplaced pass by John Pantsil. Stoch fired in another attempt moments later but Walker easily claimed.
Jeffery had a chance to seal the victory in the 80th minute after Sam Hutchinson gave the ball away leaving him through on goal, but his effort was saved by Hilario.
In injury time Stanislas nearly turned in Tom Harvey's perfectly-weighted cross at the far post, but he didn't connect with the first-time volley and the ball bounced out of play.
"It was a good performance," said Steve Brown. "What they delivered replicated a first team game. It might not be right up to the standard of a first team game in terms of quality, but they worked their socks off.
"James Collins has done very well, he came off after 60 minutes, Carlton Cole did superbly well and came off after 70, and that's a good workout for the pair of them. It's better than any training session you can do.
"And that's all we ask; that they put on a show and work their socks off. It was a 0-0 result but in all fairness we're unanimous in thinking we should have got a result tonight. We had at least six chances in the second half, with two of them being absolute clear-cut chances.
"All in all it was a good performance, a good night's
work and not a disappointing result. In the last four or five weeks
we have put on some great performances and have perhaps deserved
more out of the games."
West Ham United: Walker, Pantsil, Widdowson, Spector, Dailly,
Collins (Tomkins, 60), Sears (Fitzgerald, 84mins), Harvey, Cole
(Jeffrey 69mins), Hales, Stanislas
Subs not used: Miller, Tomkins, Stech
Chelsea: Hilario, P Ferreira, Bridcutt, Hutchinson, Elmer,
Sawyer, F Ferreira, Woods (Stoch, 57mins), Sahar (Cummings,
87mins), Rodriguez, Fernandes
Subs not used: Ma-Kalambay, Ofori-Twumasi, Magnay