Carlton Cole
Cole played in a behind closed doors loss to West Ham. (Reuters)

Carlton Cole took his first step in earning a new contract with West Ham United in a behind closed doors friendly with Charlton Athletic, but couldn't prevent the Addicks claiming a 4-2 victory against a strong Hammers side.

The striker parted ways with the club at the end of his contract during the summer but has joined up with his former club amid a striker shortage with Andy Carroll's return date still unknown.

Sam Allardyce announced at the end of last month that the 29-year-old will be offered a short term deal once he has improved his fitness levels that were given their first real test in an afternoon loss at Upton Park.

With the international break taking precedence over the next six days, Cole was joined by a number of first team players in the West Ham XI, featuring alongside Guy Demel, James Tomkins, Joe Cole, Stewart Downing, Matt Jarvis and Mladen Petric - who is currently on a temporary deal.

However Cole was unable to mark his first game back with a goal as the Hammers succumbed to defeat in what was the striker's first game back on West Ham's home turf since January.

Having made three appearances for the Hammers since joining them in September, 30-year-old Petric was given another opportunity to stake a claim for a first team starting berth.

The former Fulham and Borussia Dortmund striker started up front alongside Cole and opened the game's scoring with a header after 25 minutes.

Charlton levelled the game just minutes later through a goal through Bastile Camerling before Joe Pigott scored from the penalty spot to give the south east London side the lead before half time.

Pigott added a second in the half after Spanish goalkeeper Adrian initially stopped an effort from Camerling, but 20-year-old George Moncur reduced the deficit for West Ham with 25 minutes remaining.

However the visitors restored their two goal lead shortly before the full time whistle when Mark Gower's effort evaded Adrian to bounce off the post and into the back of the net.