Dyer delighted by comeback

West Ham United reserve-team manager Alex Dyer was encouraged by his team's second-half performance in Wednesday's 1-1 Barclays Premier Reserve League South draw with Portsmouth.

The Hammers went in a goal down at the break courtesy of Gael Nlundulu's strike four minutes before half-time. Following a constructive teamtalk from Dyer, however, Jordan Spence levelled matters with a deflected header shortly before the hour-mark.

With the likes of Junior Stanislas, Fabio Daprela, Manuel da Costa and Freddie Sears in action, the home side dominated the final stages at Bishop's Stortford FC's Woodside Park.

So, while a point lifted West Ham into sixth place in the standings, the manager believes his side played well enough to earn all three.

"We started off quite slow, but as the game went on we got better. I was disappointed with the way we conceded the goal, but I honestly thought it was a free-kick [for a foul]. We switched off and he got the wrong side of Fabio and he finished it quite nicely.

"We had a chat at half-time and sorted a few things out and I thought the second half was a lot better. We pressed the ball high up and deservedly got our goal, even if it was a deflection. I thought we should have gone on and won the game.

"I didn't raise my voice or anything, I just pointed out a few things. I thought we could do a lot better on the ball and we had to find some kind of end product. Defensively, we needed to stay more compact because they wanted to play little balls through the gaps. If we could stay nice and compact, we could stifle them a bit, which I think we did in the second half."

Alongside the first-team squad members on display, full-backs Spence and Davide Ferrari were in impressive form, while first-year professional Olly Lee completed his first 90 minutes since returning from a debilitating bout of glandular fever.

"The full-backs got forward a lot more and delivered some good crosses in. Davide should have scored, Olly did well and should have scored with a header near the end. It was just that little bit of quality in the final-third that we lacked.

"Olly's energy level was a lot better. He's been out ill for a long time and he did well to complete the 90 minutes. It's a credit to him.

"Overall I was happy with the performance, but I'd have liked to have got the three points."

With no league game until they play host to Chelsea on 23 February, Dyer is eager for his players to maintain their match-fitness during the gap in the fixture list. Accordingly, the manager is aiming to arrange a series of friendly matches to be played over the coming month.

Dyer adopted a similar approach before Christmas, sending his team out against Norwich City, Grays Athletic and Polish club Arka Gdynia.

"I'll get the lads in for training, but I intend to arrange some friendlies. I'd like to play against some good, footballing sides and also to get some trialists in. I just want to get us games every week.

"It's difficult because the first team are playing next week [at Portsmouth] and the youth team are doing well and playing regularly as well, so numbers may be an issue. We'll get some triallists in and use the players who are not getting games.

"The boys need games for a lot of reasons at this time of the season, but mainly for their fitness levels. We'll train hard every day, but you need an end product in the shape of playing games. They enjoy playing and I'm hoping we can get three or four games over the next few weeks."