Run-out for new duo

Radoslav Kovac and Fabio Daprela both impressed as West Ham United won a behind closed doors practice game 2-1 against Watford.

Josh Payne grabbed the opener with a penalty just after the half-hour mark and Zavon Hines capitalised on a defensive mistake seven minutes into the second half to make it two after good work from Frank Nouble. A hard-working and lively Watford side scored a late consolation with five minutes to go.

Kovac, who was making his made his first appearance since signing a permanent deal with the club last Friday, was impressive in a central midfield role and was key to much of the good work shown by Alex Dyer's side. The former Czech international used all of his experience and strength to thwart several dangerous Watford attacks, while also showing he is equally impressive as an offensive force by spraying several well-placed long balls forward.

Daprela also showed why he had caught the eye of his new employers at just 18 with an assured performance at left-back. The Switzerland Under-19 international was strong in the tackle and was comfortable on the ball going forward.

Dyer had named a strong team with Nigel Quashie, Payne, Hines and Nouble, fresh from his weekend first-team debut, all boasting first-team experience. Captain Bondz 'Gala and Anthony Edgar had also travelled with the first team to Austria in pre-season.

On a gloriously sunny day at Watford's London Colney training ground both teams seemed content to zip the ball around on the floor but neither side mustered a chance of note until the Hammers were awarded a penalty in the 31st minute for handball. After a brief discussion with Hines, Payne won the right to take the spot-kick and justified his insistence with a superbly placed effort into the top left-hand corner.

The two potential penalty takers were regularly West Ham's biggest threat going forward and six minutes before the break, Hines showed some delightful trickery to beat his marker, only to fire straight at the Watford goalkeeper. Adam Street was in goal for the Hammers at the other end and he had to be at his best to turn a 25-yard daisy-cutter around the post.

Hines then had an even better chance after more neat footwork but once again found the Watford stopper in fine form.

West Ham doubled their advantage when a chipped pass forward by 'Gala gave Nouble something to chase. His power was enough to force the defender into mis-judging an attempted back header, which allowed Hines to race in and flick the ball over the keeper and into the net.

As West Ham turned up the heat even further, Payne saw several powerful long-range efforts saved, with the pick of the bunch only just being turned around the post by the goalkeeper.

Watford ensured there was to be a tight finale, though, with a goal of their own five minutes from time, but the Hammers held on for a morale-boosting win ahead of Sunday's game first-team game with Tottenham Hotspur.