By Dan Harrison
It was honours even as Villa's reserves gave another impressive showing against their West Ham counterparts.
Four of Kevin MacDonald's side - Shane Lowry, Chris Herd, Isaiah Osbourne and Daniel Johnson - were back on second string duty at Hinckley, following their involvement with the first team for Saturday's 2-2 draw with Manchester United..
A goalless draw was a fair reflection on proceedings, but MacDonald will have been pleased with the way his relatively young team competed against a strong Hammers outfit.
The visitors fielded several players with senior experience, including New Zealand World Cup star Winston Reid, former Real Madrid loanee Julien Faubert and talented striker Frank Nouble.
Zavon Hines - Villa's nemesis last season with a late goal in the 2-1 Premier League defeat at Upton Park - also made his return as a substitute after 18 months on the sidelines with a knee injury,
The best chance of a relatively tight first-half fell to Nouble who made his full first team debut against Villa in a goalless draw last term.
The England U19 forward latched on to an intricate through ball from Eoin Wearen but his low shot was parried by goalkeeper Andy Marshall.
Nouble also teed up strike partner Cristian Montano for a half-volley which was dragged wide.
But Villa created chances of their own. Connor Taylor led the attack alone and displayed some neat touches and excellent strength in holding the ball up.
The 18-year-old reacted quickly to Faubert's sliced clearance just outside the Hammers box, although it bounced awkwardly for Taylor who fired over.
Isaiah Osbourne also went close when his header from a Samir Carruthers cross looped just over.
It was a similar story after the break with both sides creating chances but, again, neither goalkeeper was overworked.
Herd curled a low free-kick wide, while Oliver Lee tested Marshall from around 35 yards but the experienced custodian pushed away the West Ham midfielder's effort.
The Hammers introduced Hines into the action and it was a lively cameo for the returning forward, who thumped a free-kick straight at Marshall.
The Villa keeper also denied Nouble from a tight angle.
But the home side came closest to finding a breakthrough. A surging run into the box from Daniel Johnson presented the academy skipper with a fine opportunity, though Marek Stech got down to hold his close-range attempt.
And in stoppage time, substitutes Graham Burke and Michael Drennan combined - Burke playing in his fellow Irishman who dragged a shot off target.
VILLA: Marshall, Berry, Baker, Williams, Lowry, Carruthers, Osbourne, Johnson, Herd, Cameron, Taylor. Subs: Burke (for Osbourne, 73), Parish, Drennan (for Taylor, 73), Deeney (for Cameron, 86), Halfhuid.
WEST HAM: Stech, Spence, Brown, Wearen, Reid, Eyjolfsson, Faubert, Lee, Nouble, Montano, Fanimo. Subs: Hines (for Montano, 62), Cowler, Lletget (for Faubert, 76), McNaughton, Sanchez.