HAMMERS Reserve team have gone down 5-0 to a vastly more experienced Southampton side in this FA Premier Reserve League South clash at Dagenham and Redbridge.
The visitors, who fielded no less than seven players with Premiership experience to West Ham United's one in Andy Melville, outclassed the young Hammers side with four second-half goals and a hat-trick from striker Brett Ormerod.
Kevin Keen's team began the game well and had the better of the early chances, with Hogan Ephraim, Andy Melville and Elliott Ward all forcing saves from Southampton goalkeeper Michael Poke with headers.
Indeed, West Ham's defence had rarely been troubled when Saints took the lead after 42 minutes. Ormerod pounced as the ball broke loose in the area, stabbing past Matt Reed and clattering the West Ham United goalkeeper in the process.
Having put so much effort into containing Southampton's first-half threat, Hammers found it difficult to cope with their more experienced opponents during a one-sided second-half.
Defending solidly, the visitors added a second with an hour played thanks to a magnificent 20-yard volley from Chris Baird that left Matt iReed with no chance.
Hammers contained the Saints for a further twenty minutes, but could do nothing when Ormerod twisted inside Jemel Henry before firing home from 10-yards out.
Kevin Keen's young side showed glimpses of their promise when Danny Bunce and Chris Cohen combined to set-up substitute Ollie Allen who forced a good save out of Poke.
But just a minute later Ormerod completed his hat-trick, latching onto Jo Tessem's through ball before beating Reed with a cool finish.
Hammers had defender Elliott Ward sent off for foul and abusive language five minutes from time, and their 10 men could only watch helplessly as Leon Best wrapped up an emphatic win for Southampton.
But, despite the defeat, Kevin Keen could not fault the effort of his young team, which included seven FA Youth Cup players.
He said: "We played well in the first-half, created some good chances and coped very well against an exceptionally experienced team.
"It was disappointing to lose a goal just before half-time, and after the effort we had put in to hold them in the first-half it was always going to be difficult to maintain that pace in the second-half.
"Their extra quality and experience really told after the break and it was tough for our young players. But I can't fault the effort they put into the game. Everyone was disappointed in the dressing room afterwards, but they played against a really experienced Southampton team who had seven first-team players."
WHU: Reed; Henry, Cohen, Ward, Melville, Stokes, Ephraim, Wright, Ashikodi (Bunce 80), Pearson, Reid (Allen 71). Subs unused: Behcet (GK), Blewitt, Laws, Shaw.
Hammers Lose To Experienced Saints