'We deserved something from it'

Academy Director Tony Carr was left to lament what might have been as West Ham United were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at the fourth-round stage by Manchester United.

The Red Devils capitalised on an uncharacteristic mistake from goalkeeper Sam Cowler to take the lead through Will Keane's 35th-minute header at the Boleyn Ground.

However, a strong second-half performance saw two convincing penalty claims turned down by referee Andy Crysell - the second when Robert Hall's goal-bound 93rd-minute shot hit the outstretched hand of a defender - while substitute Sebastian Lletget flashed a shot inches wide of the goal from close-range.

Carr and his players were clearly gutted to lose a game they could easily have won had fortune favoured them.

"I thought we deserved to win the game on our second half performance," Carr told WHUTV. "I thought in terms of territory, possession and chances and the two penalty claims which were very legitimate - I've seen the second one on the replay and it was blatant handball.

"Regardless of whether he meant it or not, it's hit his hand as it's going into the net so it's a penalty. Obviously the referee didn't see it that way and I thought that was a poor decision from the referee.

"If it's handball, it's handball. It's stopping a certain goal and we should have been playing extra time. We should have had another penalty when Robert Hall was pulled down. He's played on when Dylan [Tombides] was scythed down on the edge of the box. Robert's picked it up and he's wiggled into the box and just as he's about pull his leg back to shoot, he was pulled back and for that's another penalty.

"Sebby has come on and he might have done better and we've also had another two or three good opportunities flash across the goal.

"They were obviously going to be dangerous on the break because we were taking the game to them a little bit more in the second half. We played a lot better in the second half

"I was disappointed that we gifted them the goal. It was a goalkeeping mistake and uncharacteristic of Sam because he's been very solid for us this season. He made a mistake and they capitalised on it and then sat back and basically said 'Break us down' and their game was counter-attack from that point.

"I was disappointed with the result but very pleased with the second-half performance. We deserved something from it and, if it wasn't for the referee, we might even have won the game."

West Ham's youngsters return to action this Saturday morning when they face struggling Portsmouth in the FA Premier Academy League.

The Hammers sit seventh in Group A, but are just six points behind leaders Crystal Palace with a game in-hand. Pompey are bottom of the table, having won just one of their 14 league matches played so far.