Dyer proud of youngsters

His West Ham United side may have been edged out 1-0 by Barclays Premier Reserve League South leaders Aston Villa, but manager Alex Dyer had plenty of reasons to be pleased with his players.

For various reasons, Dyer's young Hammers could be proud of their display on a wild, wet and windy night at Bishop's Stortford FC's Woodside Park.

Andreas Weimann scored the only goal of the game, racing on to James Collins' flick-on before firing past Marek Stech at the second attempt shortly after the half-hour mark.

At the other end, Junior Stanislas hit the post with a free-kick, while Ahmed Abdulla, Davide Ferrari and Stanislas himself were all denied by Villa goalkeeper David Marshall and half-time replacement David Bevan.

"It was a good game," said Dyer. "Villa are top of the league and have been winning most of their games this season. It was nice. The boys worked hard and put in a good shift. I felt bad because we lost the game but, individually and collectively, there were some good performances.

"Conditions were hard, but I felt that we coped with them quite well. We've been doing well lately and had a couple of good wins against the better sides in the league. We had a young team out against the best team in the league, an experienced team, and we matched them.

"I was disappointed with the goal we conceded because it was avoidable. One of the centre-halves didn't cover around the other one when he lost the ball in the air, but apart from that, we dug in well."

While Dyer was pleased with his side's overall display in difficult conditions, the manager singled out a number of his young performers for special praise.

Academy right-back Callum Driver, 17, impressed on his first start at reserve-team level, while Stanislas looked highly motivated to do well on the right wing.

Eight days after rival and close friend Peter Kurucz was a star in the 2-0 win at Arsenal, Marek Stech staked his own claim to be Robert Green's regular back-up with a strong evening's work between the sticks.

Josh Payne, who looks set to be released at the end of the season, was also in good form in front of more than 30 scouts from clubs from all over Europe.

"Callum was very good in his first game in the reserves. He worked hard up and down the line and looked like he'd played there before at this level.

"Junior put in a good performance and got another 90 minutes under his belt at this level. He got up and down, too, and was motivated. He wanted to play in this game, and that will bode well at first-team level.

"It was good to see Anthony Edgar back. He has been out injured for a few weeks, so it was good to see him playing again.

"I thought Josh Payne did well. He's one of the boys who is looking for another club and there were a lot of scouts there, so hopefully he'll have impressed them because he put in a good, disciplined performance.

"Marek was very good. He made some good saves and commanded his box well, so I was happy. To be fair, I was happy with all eleven players and the three subs that came on."

West Ham United reserves: Stech, Driver, Sanchez, Spence, Brown, Stanislas, Payne, Lee (Wearen 65), Ferrari, Abdulla (Montano 58), Dixon
Subs: Mehmet, McNaughton, Edgar

* Bondz 'Gala played his third game for Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night as the Championship strugglers picked up a precious point in a goalless draw at home to Barnsley.

The Green Army are five points from safety with six matches to play but 'Gala, 20, has played his part in their survival fight by helping the club to their second clean sheet in the last three matches. 'Gala joined Plymouth earlier this month on loan until the end of the season, and looks set to move on to pastures new this summer.