Haycock frustrated by Gunners loss

After watching the Development Squad end up on the wrong side of an eight-goal thriller against Arsenal, coach Nick Haycock was a frustrated man.

Three times the Hammers fell behind, three times the Hammers drew level, only to concede two quick-fire goals in the final ten minutes to fall to defeat at London Colney on Monday afternoon.

The visitors had no trouble finding the net, with Jordan Brown netting twice against his old club and Dan Potts scoring an outstanding overhead kick, but it was their failure to keep the ball out of their own goal which left Haycock a frustrated man.

He told West Ham TV: "I just walked past Neil Banfield (Arsenal first team coach) who I've known for a long time and he said 'Wasn't that a good game?' and I've said 'The attacking part was, but the defending left a bit to be desired'.

"Parts of it I enjoyed and parts of it left me frustrated with the way they scored. Every time we got back on level terms, we tried our best to concede a goal. The key moment of the game was when we had a chance to break and Matthias Fanimo slipped a pass through to Jordan but it was just over-hit when we were on the front foot, and then at 3-3 Jordan had another great chance.

"They're defining moments and they need to understand these young players that it's a step-up for them. As we've said all season, the way me and Steve do it, that we're challenging young players at the next level all the time. To be fair to Arsenal they also had a young team today and I think it was a good advert for the U21 league."

With Elliot Lee ruled out of the match through injury, Brown was handed his first start in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League this season, and the front man did not disappoint.

The striker joined the Club from Arsenal in the summer and has featured regularly for Steve Potts' Under-18s, and Haycock felt he rose to the challenge of facing his former employers.

"He's a young 17-year-old and playing against his ex-club he was keen to play and I think he handled that well, because it's often difficult playing against the club where you've been since you were a young schoolboy.

"He wants to learn, you can see he's a goalscorer and there are parts of his game which we'll work on on the training pitch. He was unlucky not to get a hat-trick with the header that came off the post as well as a few other little chances.

"All in all I'm looking at the performance as a whole and I always take the positives. I thought the second goal was a very good goal and we should have played like that more."

The young Hammers had no time to dwell on defeat to the Gunners as they face Middlesbrough at the Boleyn Ground on Friday.

With just four league matches left to play, Haycock has urged his team to finish the season strongly, starting with victory against the Teesiders.

"You saw with our form before Christmas we had a settled team and I think the results go with that. With the win one, lose one, win one, lose one, type spell we've been going through it's because the adjustments of the team.

"I have no complaints because I'm here to develop a player for the first team. I have set the challenge for the boys now to go four out of four, to try and push themselves up the league and stay in that division one for next season as only the top eleven qualify.

"If they get the four wins then they may still get in the play-offs and then you're playing teams who've been up there, as we have. It's just of late that the form's gone a bit but understandably with the topsy-turvy nature of the team."