West Ham United Development Squad ended their title-winning Barclays U21 Premier League Group 1 fixture list with a 3-1 defeat at Norwich City on Monday.
With Nick Haycock in charge for the first time since his promotion from Under-18s coach last week, the Hammers were edged out at the Canaries' Colney Training Ground.
While the defeat marked a low-key end to the opening half of the campaign, it was tempered by the welcome sight of Jack Collison making his first appearance of 2012/13. As planned, the midfielder played the opening 45 minutes before being substituted.
The Wales international, who has been dealing with a knee problem, was to the fore in much of West Ham's best moves in the first half, setting up one shooting chance for Sebastian Lletget before heading Nathan Mavila's cross narrowly wide himself.
Norwich rode out the early Hammers storm, however, and took the lead through Tottenham Hotspur loanee Harry Kane on 25 minutes. The 19-year-old, who made his first-team debut for the Canaries against West Ham in September, finished a move that also involved Josh Murphy and Jamar Loza.
Collison was replaced by second-year scholar Taylor Miles at half-time, but it would not be long before Norwich doubled their advantage. Pelly Ruddock upended Kane inside the penalty area and Olumide Durojaiye converted the resulting spot-kick.
West Ham battled on gamely and won a penalty of their own ten minutes into the second period when Adel Gafaiti brought down Mavila. However, captain Jordan Spence was denied by Norwich goalkeeper Remi Matthews and, just 60 seconds later, Murphy fed Kane to make it 3-0.
To the Hammers' credit, they did not give up and Haycock's youngsters were rewarded with a consolation goal on 85 minutes. First-year scholar Mavila, who impressed in last week's FA Youth Cup third-round win at Aldershot Town, capped another promising display by netting a direct free-kick.
There was still time for Loza to hit the underside of the crossbar for the hosts as Norwich secured a victory that saw them finish in sixth place.
West Ham, meanwhile, ended the pre-Christmas campaign four points clear at the top of the Group 1 table and will now prepare for the Elite Group Stage.
Development Squad: Spiegel, Spence, Ruddock, K Lee, Driver, Lletget, Moncur, Collison (Miles 46), Mavila, Shaw, Sadlier(Harney 82)
Subs not used: Baxter, Nasha, Cullen