Ian Hendon was full of festive cheer after his Development Squad completed 2011 with a fine 3-1 win at Colchester United.
West Ham United's second-string came from a goal down to complete a convincing victory highlighted by an 80-minute run out for Gary O'Neil and an outstanding goal from Paraguay Under-20 forward Brian Montenegro (pictured).
The Hammers started slowly, falling behind to Steven Gillespie's low strike, before launching a superb comeback through George Moncur's penalty before half-time and Montenegro's turn and low finish and Eoin Wearen's powerful header in six minutes after the break.
"It was very good," said Hendon. "To be honest, the lads were on their way to getting a rocket at half-time after the opening 20 minutes, but they worked their way into the game and played some good football in difficult conditions.
"We gave Colchester too much time and space in the early stages but once we tightened up we started to put them under pressure and create plenty of chances.
"We got our equaliser and then the way we came out after half-time and scored twice so quickly was really pleasing."
Montenegro's 49th-minute goal was the signature moment of a cold and wet night at Maldon and Tiptree FC. The South American took advantage of a clever dummy by new signing Pelly Ruddock before turning and unleashing an unstoppable low drive into the bottom right-hand corner.
Two minutes later, Wearen completed the scoring by nodding in O'Neil's swinging free-kick to net for the second game in succession.
"We did a bit of work on the morning of the game on finishing and set-plays and Brian looked sharp and he's scored another great goal - a good finish with his left foot.
"Pleasingly, we got another goal from a set piece and Eoin has now got two in two games. We work on these things in games and when it works in the games it is very pleasing.
It was not just the goalscorers who pleased Hendon. Youngster Ruddock caught the eye with his pace, power and industry, while O'Neil resembled his old self with an energetic performance.
"Pelly is a strong lad for his age and he's going to develop. I don't think he's used to full-time football yet, but his attitude and enthusiasm for the game are great and he did well.
"Gary was fantastic. We played him out on the right and his delivery into the box and his set-plays were superb. He looked really good on the ball and is looking stronger and sharper with every game. The good sign was that he was disappointed when he came off because he wanted to stay on and play the full 90 minutes, but the medical team specified that he should only play 75 or 80 minutes.
"We swapped Gary and Blair Turgott over and players find little niches in games - when they're not causing one full-back a problem they might cause the other full-back a problem and that's exactly how it turned out. The midfield players pushed up and put more pressure on them and, as a group, it was a good performance.