- West Ham United's U18s lost 3-0 away at Arsenal on Saturday
- The Hammers conceded two late goals after missing two terrific chances to equalise
- Assistant manager Mark Phillips said he was happy with his side's attitude and commitment
Assistant manager Mark Phillips praised his side's attitude and commitment and said they more than matched Arsenal, despite losing 3-0 to their London rivals.
The Hammers played their part in a tight, evenly-matched contest but conceded two late goals, which meant the scoreline flattered the Gunners.
With one game left of the U18 Premier League South campaign, the Hammers need a positive result at home to Chelsea next weekend to finish in the top four and qualify for the Elite Merit Group.
"If you look at our second half performance, even the first half, it was an even encounter. I think Arsenal had a little bit more quality in the final third," said Phillips.
"We had a good discussion at half-time and came out with great attitude and commitment. We had will, endeavour and had the better play in the second half.
"At 1-0 we had that chance with Jahmal. Another fell to Odi [Spyrides]. We had couple of situations where we could have made better decisions.
"Over the course of the 90 minutes, we definitely matched them. If we get in the top four, we play the best teams and it would be a good learning curve."
The start to the game was very even with both sides having their share of possession. Chances were at a premium, despite Anthony Scully just missing the target from a 25 yard free kick.
However, Arsenal had the best chance of the opening exchanges when Joe Willock struck the crossbar from a tight angle.
And it was the home side who took one of their rare chances in a tight first half. Emile Smith-Rowe found space behind the Hammers back four to slot past Rihards Matrevics.
The visitors came out firing in the second half and almost found their equaliser within minutes of the restart. Conor Coventry slid in Jahmal Hector-Ingram whose shot from a tight angle was well saved by Joao Virginia.
The Hammers certainly had the better of the second half and managed to get in behind the Gunners defence on a number of occasions.
Their best chance to equalise, once again, came from Hector-Ingram. Jeremy Ngakia battled brilliantly to retain possession on the right and the loose ball fell to the U18s’ leading marksman, who twisted and turned but was again prevented by Virginia.
Against the run of play, Arsenal scored a late second after substitute Robbie Burton volleyed home following a Hammers clearance. But the visitors could have swiftly responded when sub Odi Spyrides shot over from six yards.
The result was secured when Smith-Rowe broke clear again to score his second and Arsenal’s third, but the Hammers headed east with their heads held high after a battling display.
West Ham: Matrevics; Johnson, Eggleton, Akinola, Hannam; Mingi (Spyrides, 74), Coventry; Ngakia, Henry, Scully (Hamilton, 59); Hector-Ingram.
Subs not used: Rosa, Forde.