A freak goal cost West Ham United Under-18s dear as they fell to a 1-0 FA Premier Academy League defeat at Norwich City.

The Hammers dominated for long periods in Norfolk, but were unable to find a path past the Canaries.

Elliot Lee and Dylan Tombides both missed first-half opportunities to open the scoring, but it was the decision to turn down West Ham's claims for a spot-kick when Robert Hall was tripped inside the penalty area that left Academy Director Tony Carr MBE feeling hugely disappointed.

"We lost to a fluke goal right on the stroke of half-time," said Carr. "Their boy has crossed from a wide position and the ball has flown over everyone and gone in off the inside of the far post.

"Before their goal, though, we should have had a penalty when Rob was clearly tripped as he collected a pass from Elliot and beat his full-back. I've seen the replay and it was a blatant penalty. I don't know why Rob would have gone to ground when he was through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but there's nothing we can do about it now."

Having fallen behind, West Ham found it difficult to break down the massed ranks of Norwich defenders on a warm afternoon at Colney Training Centre.

On one of the rare occasions when the home side did break out, they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Danny Potts. However, goalkeeper Sam Cowler guessed correctly to keep out the spot-kick.

"We had plenty of the ball but we just couldn't find a way through," Carr confirmed. "If we had scored first, then it would have been a different game because we wouldn't have been chasing it and they wouldn't have been able to sit back on their lead.

"They had their goal to defend and were able to put numbers behind the ball. They were not the better team, but they got the win. It was not one of our better days. We had too many of our players who were off-key and didn't play to their full potential."

West Ham United U18s: Cowler, Driver, Potts, McCallum, Kenzer Lee, Hall, Hunt, Moncur, Turgott (Sanchez), Elliot Lee (Wearen), Tombides

The U18s host Watford at Little Heath on Saturday, with kick-off at 11am, before taking a two-week break for Easter. Admission and parking for this weekend's fixture are both free of charge to all supporters.