Alex Dyer was delighted with his reserve-team's resilient showing after a tight defensive display helped earn a 0-0 draw at league leaders Aston Villa.
The 18-year-old goalkeeper Marek Stech was one of the main reasons the Hammers left the Midlands with a point, although the five defenders in front of him also contributed in a big way. The Czech Under-21 stopper made a string of superb saves to deny the home side, who had offered plenty of invention going forward at Hinckley United's Marston's Stadium.
Time and again, Villa found their attacks halted by the brilliance of Stech and defenders James Tomkins, Bondz 'Gala, Jordan Spence, Walter Lopez and Jonathan Spector - who played as part of a five-man back line in the first half. Despite having to reshuffle after the break when Lopez was forced to leave the field with a slight groin stain, United stood firm.
The performance of his defenders was just one of many plusses for Dyer, who saw his namesake Kieron play another 70 minutes to continue his steady progress in recovering from injury while Diego Tristan also got another 90 minutes under his belt.
"It was a great point for West Ham," the reserve-team manager said. "The boys worked hard again and there were lots of positives. Kieron getting another 60 or 70 minutes, Diego Tristan getting 90 minutes and Jonathan Spector coming back and playing really well again. Obviously Marek in goal was excellent tonight so overall I thought we did well."
Dyer's side have a proud 100 per cent record at home this season, but Tuesday night's point was their first on the road so far. No doubt they will be trying to close the gap on Villa at the top next Tuesday, when they play host to Fulham at Bishop's Stortford.