Steve satisfied

Steve Lomas declared himself satisfied with the long day's work put in by his players in gaining a 1-1 Barclays Premier Reserve League draw at Sunderland.

With the first-team squad away in Portugal, a youthful West Ham United team made the 18-hour, 550-mile round-trip to Wearside on Tuesday.

The youngsters showed no ill-effects from their 4.30am alarm call by taking a first-half lead through second-year scholar left-back Callum Driver's superb individual goal.

Sunderland hit back through John Egan's second-half header, but the Hammers quickly regrouped and could easily have been awarded a late penalty when the same player appeared to bring down Frank Nouble.

Lomas told he was happy with many aspects of his side's play, but conceded that there are areas of the game where they can and will improve in the future.

"Overall, I think we've got to be pleased. It was a long day - five hours on the coach there and five hours back - so from the preparation side of it, it wasn't ideal, but it went as well as could be expected.

"The game itself was a positive. We probably should have won but then again one-all was maybe fair result. We should have had a penalty at the end, basically.

"I was disappointed with the manner in which we conceded a goal from a set piece but sometimes that happens. In the first half we didn't pass the ball well enough, but we got better after the break and that is something we can do better in future.

"I certainly can't fault the lads' application. They dug in and worked ever so hard for each other so, overall, I'm pleased but there are definitely things to work on."

Aside from their goal, Sunderland created precious few clear-cut chances - a fact Lomas put down to his players' hard work from front to back.

"I think, even though they dominated the ball in the first 30 minutes, they didn't really create anything.

"The big, big plus for me was our back four. I thought they were very, very good. Callum McNaughton played very well and the two full-backs got up and back for 90 minutes, which was probably the most pleasing thing for me.

"I thought Frank Nouble worked hard up front on his own and showed a good appetite for the game.

"I think the midfield know that they could have passed it a bit better. I can't fault their application and work-rate, but I think they were disappointed in themselves and that's a good sign when players know themselves whether they have played well or not.

"We've got things to work on but, overall, to come away from home and get a point means you've got to be delighted."

Lomas spent an extended period with his defenders - full-backs Driver and Filip Modelski and centre-backs McNaughton and Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson - in the pre-match warm-up, discussing the need to communicate and maintain a good shape and discipline to their play, both individually and collectively.

"I'd have loved to have got a clean sheet, especially after last week [a 3-2 home victory over Arsenal] and as it establishes you if you can't play in the next game.

"That would have been a classic result if we could have got a clean sheet because it gives you a chance to nick a win even if you have not played well.

"Unfortunately, we conceded and it didn't happen, so that is something I'd like us to work on."

While clean sheets are clearly one of the new manager's priorities, Lomas is also eager for his full-backs to get themselves heavily involved in the game at the attacking end of the pitch.

Aside from Driver's goal, he and Modelski repeatedly overlapped their wide midfielder and, at times, even went past lone striker Nouble.

"I like my full-backs to attack and for them to go down the flanks and join in and overlap. In the modern game, full-backs are almost like wide men.

"I was pleased with the back four aside from the one set piece, but overall it was a long day and I was pleased with their appetite.

"There are things we can improve on and things we can work on, like our passing and movement which weren't good enough at times, but those are things we can work on."

West Ham's reserves return to action next Tuesday evening, when Newcastle United are the visitors to the Boleyn Ground. Kick-off is at 2pm, with admission priced at £3 for Adults and £2 for Under-16s. Season ticket holders are admitted free of charge.