Nick Haycock spoke of his delight with another highly competent showing from West Ham United's Development Squad, as Southampton emerged with the spoils from a closely fought Barclays Under-21 Premier League contest at Rush Green.

With little to choose between the sides, a point apiece looked the most likely outcome before substitute Alberto Seidi took aim from 25 yards and rifled home to hand the visitors the lead just after the hour mark.

The Hammers' best chance of salvaging a draw came and went in stoppage time as Elliot Lee saw a diving header squirm past the outside of the post, while goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga merely stood and watched.

Though the home side were to end the evening with nothing to show for their efforts, Haycock was in no mood to bemoan ill-fortune, preferring instead to praise another mature showing in the Elite Group from his inexperienced team.

"Ultimately, at half-time I said it's got 1-0 written all over it," Haycock told West Ham TV. "I thought, really, the game deserved to be a draw. I don't think either side deserved to win it but fair play to Southampton. Martin Hunter and Steve Greaves always produce good footballing teams.

"To be fair, I was delighted with the players. They showed good character and good commitment to keep going when we'd make the mistake of the goal. It was a great strike but on another day you probably get a foul on Seb Lletget. It was going to take a goal like that to win the football match.

"I think we got into some good attacking areas and a mixture of wrong choices on final passes and some great defending from Southampton kept our scoreline to nil. All in all, four games played [in the Elite Group], most people would take six points, but the two games we've won we deserved to win and those we've lost the minimum we deserved was a draw."

Normally the scourge of opposition defences, strike duo Wellington Paulista and Elliot Lee were unusually subdued as West Ham found it tough to carve out openings. Haycock, however, reckons his side's frustrations in front of goal were chiefly a result of the thoughtful planning of his opposite number.

"They certainly weren't as sharp but I think with Southampton's organisation behind the ball, they had obviously watched us play and you could see they tried to deny space in midfield and space in behind the lines," added Haycock. 

"Elliot gets a chance right at the end and I said to him, you play Tottenham and you get six or seven chances in a game, tonight it was at a minimal and you get the chance with a header at the end, if it's on target it's a goal. I don't think the 'keeper would have got there but unfortunately it shaved the outside of the post."

In the absence of first-team squad members Dan Potts and Jordan Spence, Haycock was only too glad to blood some of his younger personnel, whose displays on the night were a source of particular pride.

"Going forward it is about development and I was delighted with the first years Amos Nasha and Ben Marlow.I didn't think there was a player in the dressing room tonight who didn't look at home at this level. I told the boys 'don't change what you're doing. On another night you could have drawn the game or even won the game, it could have gone either way.' They can be pleased with the efforts they put in."

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