Delighted manager Kevin Keen could not hide his satisfaction at a third straight win for his reserves on Wednesday night.
A youthful home side - along with the experience of Richard Wright and Bobby Zamora - performed well against a competitive Fulham team at Bishop's Stortford before sealing a 2-0 victory with late goals from Freddie Sears and Zavon Hines. "I am really pleased," Keen told WHUTV. "We really stuck at it and battled well, which is always the first thing. I knew they had a team which was enthusiastic and would have a go. We matched that.
"We played some good football. I thought we created some good chances in the first half - perhaps not as many in the second half but eventually I think we got our just reward. Two late goals was a perfect way to finish the evening really." While the team display from back to front was the most rewarding element of the evening, there were plenty of individual plaudits as well.
Tricky attacker Hines earned special mention for his contribution as a second-half substitute, with Keen admitting "I thought he turned the game a little bit", while Sears who struck the opener from the penalty spot after winning the spot-kick in the first place continued his fine run of form. "He is no good, he's got no pace, he's got no touch - he has got no chance," joked Keen about the 18-year-old forward.
Sears began on the right side of midfield before linking up well with the tireless Zamora through the middle in the closing stages. That said, Keen stressed there was a need to recognise that the homegrown Hammers fan is still developing, for all his prodigious talent. "He needs to get more experience of reserve games and see how quickly we can improve and strengthen him. He is a little lad but he has got a little bit of bite about him. We are hopeful."
Zamora got through another 90 minutes to make it two full reserve-team games along with an hour in a friendly match since his return to action on 4 March. Although he did not find the target, Keen believed his performance up against two uncompromising and experienced centre-backs in the shape of Ian Pearce and Toni Kallio was just as welcome "in terms of the workout for him" as his three goals against Birmingham City last week. "He probably didn't enjoy it as much but he got a bit more from the game," he added.
West Ham United reserves are next in action away to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night as they look to maintain the pressure on leaders Aston Villa. With five matches left to play, the Hammers are four points behind top spot but have played two games more than their midlands rivals.