West Ham United let a two goal lead slip in the 3-3 Barclays U18 Premier League draw with Blackburn Rovers at Little Heath on Saturday morning.
The hosts were 2-0 up within the opening 13 minutes when striker Jordan Brown smashed in a left footed shot after Djair Parfitt-Williams back heeled the ball through the defence, before Parfitt-Williams turned from creator to scorer to smash home an impressive half volley.
Blackburn pulled one back when Brice Wassi volleyed home expertly from 18 yards, but within 15 minutes of conceding, West Ham re-established their two goal lead through Kieran Bywater. The 18-year-old captain scored for the fourth match in succession, stabbing home from 12 yards after meeting Parfitt-Williams' tricky right wing cross.
The game was turned on its head during the second half however when Hammers keeper Vit Nemrava dropped a catch to gift a goal to Liam Langford, before Jordan Preston buried a controversial penalty to level the score and steal a draw.
Both Jerry Amoo and Kyle Knoyle were both close to the action when the visiting player took a tumble in the penalty area, with the referee deciding to award the spot kick despite replays showing that the penalty should not have been given.
West Ham U18 manager Steve Potts, who returned to his role after missing two league matches, was impressed with West Ham's first half performance, but believed West Ham should have been more ruthless and put the game to bed before the break.
"The worst part about the draw is that I felt disappointed at half time that the score was only 3-1," said Potts. "Looking at the way we performed in the first game, especially at this age level, it comes down to how ruthless you are in front of goal.
"I really think that the game should have been dead and buried before half time. For all the hard work and effort the lads put into the first half performance, it almost feels like a defeat now. That's what the boys have to see and learn from."
Potts was also delighted with the way the team finished off their attacking moves, agreeing that Djair Parfitt-Williams impressed by playing a big role in all three of the Hammers' goals.
"All three of our goals were excellent finishes," he added. "We were moving and passing well throughout the first half and I found myself saying that we could have finished a lot more moves, that is why I was disappointed that the score was only 3-1.
"[Djair] had a brilliant game. His technical ability is fantastic and he showed it by being involved in all three goals. I asked him to do a job and role and I think he did it to the letter.
Saturday's disappointing draw will give Potts' side a lot to think about over the next week, with the Academy manager knowing that it doesn't take much at this level for teams to punish the smallest of defensive mistakes.
"There were plenty of areas, both positive and negative, that the boys will sit down and watch back on the DVD during the week and we will learn from them.
"We will take the positives and negatives out of this game to adapt for our next fixture, but it's just a case that a few small errors can lead to goals and really punish you at this level."
West Ham travel north to face Sunderland on Saturday morning, with the opening day victory over Manchester United being the Hammers U18's only win of the season so far.
West Ham United U18s: Nemrava, Knoyle, Harney, Burke, Mavila, Cullen, Makasi, Bywater, Amoo, Parfitt-Williams (Nasha), Brown.
Subs not used: Howes, Girdlestone, Onaraise, Bailey.