Nick Haycock admitted his Development Squad had learned the hard way after two late goals consigned West Ham United to a Barclays Under-21 Premier League Elite Group defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Sebastian Lletget's first goal of the campaign seemingly had Haycock's men on course for a valuable away win, only for calamity to strike twice in the final eight minutes.
A suspiciously harsh penalty award allowed Jake Cassidy to slam home from the spot, before the hosts seized upon Frazer Shaw's defensive mishap, with Robbie Parry the man to fire Wolves ahead in the 90th minute.
While defeat was certainly scant reward for a perfectly good showing, Haycock was adamant that Wolves' late show will prove an invaluable experience in the long run.
"It's probably the first time that I do feel really aggrieved," Haycock told West Ham TV. "Every game that we've played has been competitive and this was no different. We've come to a good club in Wolves and I think the environment was exactly what the boys are going to experience out on loan. The game played that way as well and it's a great game for the boys to have played in. There are some young lads out there who are learning by the day and this was no exception.
"We nearly gave them a goal at 1-0 when we were playing out the back and dropped it short to the 'keeper, but we'll learn from that. That's key. If they don't make mistakes they may never learn. Sometimes you have to be harsh and tell them a few home truths. I think that's part and parcel of football as well. That's the world they are coming in to. At this level you can't afford to make mistakes like that because you get punished."
The Hammers might have had a two-goal lead to protect had Elliot Lee enjoyed better fortune, as his strike, just seconds after the restart, cannoned off the inside of the post and rolled across the face of goal. Haycock reckoned it was a pivotal moment on the night, while he was disappointed with the penalty that handed Wolves a route back into the contest.
"If Elliot's chance just after half-time goes in, it's probably a different game at 2-0," he added. "I don't think Elliot could have done any more really. He's hit the post, and it could have gone in off the post. They are game-changers and I think we've had a week of it with the first team. It was a good performance against Spurs and it was no different on Tuesday night.
"They had their chances as well and I'm not going to gripe about a referee but it's never a penalty. I've seen it on the DVD. That's given them the lift to push on and get the winner, albeit in the last few minutes. We're very unfortunate just to be sat on six points, I think we deserve far more than that. But there are lessons to be learned."
Next up for Nick Haycock's charges is the visit of Manchester United to the Boleyn Ground on Friday 1 March, with kick-off set for 7pm. Season Ticket Holders are to be admitted free of charge, while Adults will pay just £3 and Under-16s £1. The main car park and Stadium Store will also be open to supporters.