Cheltenham Town’s 2023/24 Bristol Street Motors Trophy campaign came to an end with a 4-0 defeat to West Ham United U21s at the Completely Suzuki Stadium.
History was made for the Robins on an otherwise disappointing evening as Sopuruchukwu Obieri, aged 15 years and 303 days, became the youngest player in club history.
After the defeat, assistant manager Adam Murray gave his honest view of the clash and said:
"I don't think we've learnt anything new if I'm being totally honest with you.
"Today the manager wanted somebody to step forward and give him food for thought, but unfortunately I don't think we saw that.
"We understand some players are struggling with confidence after the start of the season but that doesn't mean that you can't do the basics."
The Robins started the game off on the front foot with Aidan Keena bursting forward before his left footed shot rebounded off the base of the post.
The momentum soon shifted however with the visitors growing into the game before Oliver Scarles put the Irons ahead as he capitalised on a poor defensive clearance.
A second followed within a minute, Scarles this time turning provider as Divin Mubama swept home cross past Max Harris.
A response from the Robins came 11 minutes later as Keena combined with his strike partner George Lloyd, whose rising shot was well saved by Joseph Anang.
However, from the resulting corner, the visitors broke with George Earthy being released in on goal and after standing up his man, his shot rose over Harris by virtue of a deflection.
Given the scoreline, the Robins would push forward after the break with half-time substitute Tom King proving to be a bright spark.
The pacy attacker saw appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Tom Reeves before he saw a shot blocked in the area.
The visitors added their fourth minutes later though as Scarles slid the ball across the six yard box providing Callum Marshall with the simplest of finishes.
In injury time, Harris was called into action again and a fantastic save away to his right from Scarles’ free kick that was destined for the top corner.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Harris; Horton (Walters 76), Bradbury (c), Chapman; J. Williams, Hammond (Liggett 76), Adshead (Willcox 76), Olayinka (King 46), Malcolm; Keena, Lloyd (Obieri 76). Subs not used: Franks (Gk)
WEST HAM UNITED (4-2-3-1): Anang; Johnson, Casey (Luizao 65), Forbes (c) (Laing 70), Scarles; Orford (Moore 81), Kelly (Clayton 81); Chesters, Marshall, Earthy (Kodua 70); Mubama. Subs not used: Abraham (Gk), Tarima
REFEREE: T Reeves
ATTENDANCE: 1,090 (158 from West Ham)