A YOUNG Hammers Reserve side put up a brave fight, before eventually going down 4-2 to Arsenal in this FA Premier Reserve League South clash at Barnet.
Kevin Keen's side began the game well against the more experienced Gunners and were unlucky to find themselves a goal down midway through the first-half.
But, showing plenty of resolve, West Ham fought back and equalised just five minutes later with a fine strike from midfielder Chris Cohen, sending the teams in tied 1-1 at the break.
Encouraged by their equaliser, Hammers came out for the second-half determined to unsettle their illustrious opponents.
They did just that when Youssef Sofiane played a neat one-two before firing past the Gunners goalkeeper to put Kevin Keen's side 2-1 infront.
The hosts began to press immediately for an equaliser, but when it did come, West Ham were left to rue an obvious offside decision that went unpunished.
It was a cruel blow for the Hammers, and one that they could not recover from. Goals in the 85th and 89th minute sealed the three points for Arsenal, but Kevin Keen could not fault his side's courageous performance.
He said: "I'm very proud of the way my players performed. They were up against a very good Arsenal side, but their effort and enthusiasm was fantastic and they did not deserve to lose in the way they did.
"It was a great effort to take a 2-1 lead and the boys had worked tremendously hard for it. We began to tire as the second-half went on, but the circumstances surrounding their equalsier were very disappointing.
"I don't like to moan about referees, but the Arsenal goal was blatantly offside and it was a huge blow for our players. Needless to say we weren't very happy on the bench.
"The team kept working hard after that. Unfortunately we couldn't hold out, but there were a lot of positives to take from the game."
WHU: Behcet; Henry, Bunce, Melville, Blewitt, Cohen, Allen, Wright (Shaw), Stokes (Ashikodi), Sofiane, Reid (Ephraim). Subs unused: Reed (GK), Laws, Andrews.