It was a 2-1 defeat but Grays Athletic did enough to impress the faithful as they started their 2009-10 campaign.
The match certainly drew the crowds with an impressive 3169 visiting Bridge Road.
The Blues (with a dash of claret) looked assured and unhurried as the Premier League outfit stroked the ball around the park. Former Eastbourne defender Jay Lovett showed good vision and made some timely interceptions.
It was good to see Jamie Slabber remaining as the only vestige of last season (apart from Stuart Thurgood watching from the sidelines). He immediately struck a good partnership with the returning Bertie Brayley.
It was the Hammers who struck first in the 10th minute as Zavon Hines toe punted the ball from just inside the area.
Grays did not panic and the maturity of Nick McKoy and Paulo Venazza brought Grays back into the game.
In the 21st minute, Slabber turned his man at the edge of the box and skidded the ball past the flailing keeper Kurucz.
Naturally, there was a lack of bite in the tackles. The Hammers changed their eleven at half time but Grays continued to marshall the Hammers very effectively.
No player looked on edge or on trial and Craig Edwards also quietly encouraged his men.
Mustapha Dumbaya looked fleet of foot on the right hand side in the second half putting in key challenge on the dangerous Stanislas.
Keeper Paul Nichols also cooly guided his defence (nice to see a Grays keeper kick straight)
In the 72nd minute Christian Montano put the Hammers back into the lead with a close range strike. It was perhaps the measure of the Hammers celebration that showed how hard Grays had worked them.
Sub Reggie Saviger also looked sprightly producing a fine shot in the 80th minute while Maty Toms went close with a fine diving header.
Sub keeper produced a fine cameo save in the dying minutes as he smothered a close range shot from Ilunga.