By Dan Harrison
Villa were held to a goalless draw at Woodside Park as neither side managed to gain a psychological advantage ahead of Saturday's meeting between their respective first teams.
It was a creditable point for Kevin MacDonald's team against a West Ham outfit featuring England international Kieron Dyer, Mexican winger Pablo Barrera and the talented Jack Collison.
Senior duo Nathan Baker and Chris Herd combined in the centre of defence to steer Villa to a clean sheet, while 19-year-old Benjamin Seigrist made a couple of important saves in the closing stages.
But the away team also created plenty of chances and were unlucky not to score during an early flurry.
Inside the first 15 minutes, Samir Carruthers went close after arriving at the back post to meet Daniel Johnson's left wing cross on the volley and Johnson saw a 25-yard strike deflect wide of the target.
Moustapha Salifou's well-struck long-range attempt was saved by keeper Ruud Boffin.
When Dyer was forced to clear Gary Gardner's threatening low cross over his own bar, it appeared to be all one way traffic. But West Ham threatened through Barrera, who had a powerful shot charged down by Ellis Deeney, and Callum McNaughton who headed the Mexican's right wing cross wide from close range.
The tempo dropped in the second period with neither team creating as many clear cut opportunities. However, Johnson almost caught out Boffin with a cross-cum-shot and West Ham substitute Callum Driver curled an effort wide of the target.
Villa introduced Jason Lampkin as a late substitute and he almost won it in stoppage time with a deflected shot, having met Gardner's neat lay-off.
But despite that late surge, MacDonald's team were thankful for two excellent late stops from Siegrist. Firstly, the Swiss goalkeeper pushed away an angled drive from Dylan Tombides and, with six minutes remaining, he thwarted Dominic Vose with his legs.
WEST HAM: Boffin, Dyer, Ilunga, Abdulla, McNaughton, Reid, Barrera, Collison, Tombides, Faubert, Wearen. Subs: Eyjolfsson (for Reid, HT), Wooton, Driver (for Dyer, 74), Vose (for Collison, 61), McCallum.
VILLA: Siegrist, Berry, Deeney, Osbourne, Herd, Baker, Carruthers, Salifou, Forrester, Gardner, Johnson. Subs: Lampkin (for Johnson, 78), Barrett, Burke (for Forrester, 90), Graham (for Carruthers, 68), Donacien.