West Ham United went down to a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City in the Barclays U18 Premier League on Saturday.
The Hammers' South Division title hopes took a major blow as the North Division leaders proved too strong at Platt Lane, where goals from Thierry Ambrose, Brandon Barker and Kean Bryan settled matters.
Defeat leaves West Ham three points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur, with three home matches remaining. Despite their loss, Steve Potts' side remain in the hunt for top spot as Spurs lost 1-0 at Manchester United on Saturday.
It could have been different if West Ham forward Marcio Martins had not been denied early on, when home goalkeeper Billy O'Brien thrust out a hand to divert his shot around the post.
Ambrose's opener came on 12 minutes when he headed in Tosin Adarabioyo's flick-on from a corner. West Ham came back into things after falling behind, with Kieran Bywater firing a free-kick narrowly over the crossbar and Denziel Boadu hitting the post for City shortly before the half-hour mark.
Into the second half and Reece Burke was penalised for a foul inside the West Ham penalty area, allowing Barker to fire past Tim Brown from the spot after 58 minutes.
The hosts' third came on 71 minutes, when substitute Bryan ran through the defence and finished accurately past Brown.
West Ham return to action on Wednesday 16 April, when they welcome West Bromwich Albion to Little Heath for a 12noon kick-off.
Highlights of Saturday's defeat at Manchester City will be available to watch on West Ham TV shortly.
U18s: T.Brown, Pike, Mavila, Nasha, Burke, Onariase, Amoo, Makasi, Martins, Bywater, Parfitt-Williams
Subs not used: Diangana, Nemrava, Bailey, Marlow, Akinola