The reserve team finally secured their long-awaited first win of the season on Tuesday night with an impressive 2-0 win over Charlton Athletic.
On a freezing cold night at Upton Park, goals from Junior Stanislas on the stroke of half-time and Freddie Sears in the 70th minute warmed up the crowd and gave Steve Brown's young team a deserved three points.
Reserve team coach Steve Brown fielded a team largely made up of
youth team hopefuls who had played in the FA Premier Academy on
Saturday, with only Jimmy Walker and Paul Konchesky possessing
senior experience, but the youngsters did themselves proud.
Hammers made a bright start and went close to taking the lead twice inside the opening two minutes. First Joe Widdowson fired just wide, then Bondz Ngala headed against the bar from a corner.
On 17 minutes, the lively Sears came close with a low effort that just flew past the post, and 10 minutes later he found himself in the clear after a neat lay-off from Lee Hales, but prodded the ball just wide of the target from six yards out.
Charlton's only real chance of the half came by way of a speculative 30-yard shot from midfielder Mark Staunton that flew just over the bar, but it still looked likely that the visitors would go in level as the half drew to a close.
However, one minute into stoppage time, Hammers found the breakthrough they deserved, as Sears found Stanislas on the right, and the winger fired a low shot into the corner of the net from 12 yards out.
The hosts continued to control proceedings in the second half and, after a steady build-up of possession, Sears almost doubled the lead when he latched on to a superb pass from Jack Jeffery and skipped past a defender in the box, only to be denied by a diving save from Charlton keeper Darren Randolph.
Five minutes later, though, Sears got the goal his performance deserved, as a neat move between Jeffery and Stanislas ended up with the ball being cut back to the diminuitive striker, who took one touch before slamming into the net from close range.
With 10 minutes remaining, Brown introduced schoolboy midfielder Oliver Lee - son of former Hammers star Robert Lee - as a substitute, and the 15-year-old enjoyed an impressive cameo display, showing some impressive touches.
Widdowson could have made it 3-0 near the end with a looping header that dropped just over the bar, and that scoreline would not have flattered the young Hammers side, who finally got the rewards their efforts this season have deserved.
Hammers: Walker; Miller, Ngala, Tomkins, Konchesky; Stanislas (Hunt 82), Harvey (Lee 79), Hales, Widdowson; Jeffery, Sears. Subs not used: Blackmore, Blackwell.
Charlton: Randolph, Kurrant, Basey, Staunton, Thomas, Coleman, Wagstaff, Wright, Simmonds, Dickson, Yussuff. Subs: Solly, Elliot, Godfrey, Sinfield, Harkin.