Swansea City Under-23s’ Premier League 2 survival hopes suffered a setback as they were beaten 3-0 by West Ham United.
Dan Kemp scored twice in the second half while while substitute Mesaque Dju was also on target to condemn the young Swans to a first defeat in five games in all competitions.
It could have been a different story, however, after Adam King saw his first-half penalty saved by West Ham keeper Joseph Anang.
Defeat – coupled with Blackburn Rovers’ 2-2 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion – leaves the Swans seven points from safety with just three league games remaining in Premier League 2.
Both sides created chances early on with Liam Cullen shooting straight at Anang from a tight angle, while Gregor Zabret produced smart saves to deny Nathan Holland and Sean Adarkwa.
The Swans were then presented with a great opportunity to break the deadlock when Adnan Maric was brought down by Josh Okotcha in the area.
However, Anang performed heroics as he guessed correctly to keep out King from 12 yards.
West Ham finished the half strongly with Zabret called into action again to deny Mason Barrett’s powerful header, while Cullen was well-placed to head away a follow-up effort from Grady Diangana.
The Slovenian keeper came to the Swans’ rescue once more four minutes before the break as he held onto Adarkwa’s shot after the Hammers striker had pounced on a loose pass and charged towards goal.
The Swans saw another glorious chance go begging in the 52nd minute when Rushesha’s cross was headed over by Brandon Cooper from close range.
And it proved crucial as, six minutes later, West Ham took the lead with Kemp drilling a penalty under the dive of Zabret after Keston Davies was penalised for handball.
The hosts looked to respond with Cullen and Evans testing Anang just before the hour mark.
However, the Hammers struck again soon after as Dju arrived late in the area to turn home Holland’s cross.
And the visitors put the game beyond the Swans seven minutes from time when Kemp rounded off a neat move by providing a calm finish.
Swans U23s: Gregor Zabret, Tivonge Rushesha, Ben Cabango, Keston Davies (capt), Brandon Cooper, Adnan Maric (Kees De Boer, 75), Adam King, Simon Paulet (Mason Jones-Thomas, 75), Oli Cooper, Liam Cullen, Keiran Evans.
Subs not used: Josh Gould, Tom Price, Jack Withers.
West Ham U23s: Joseph Anang, Ben Johnson, Mason Barrett, Josh Okotcha, Ajibola Alese, Conor Coventry (capt), Alfie Lewis, Grady Diangana (Anthony Scully, 89), Dan Kemp (Kristijan Belic, 86), Sean Adarkwa (Mesaque Dju, 68), Nathan Holland.
Subs not used: Serine Sanneh, Louie Watson.