Derby County Under-23s were knocked out of the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup following a heart-breaking penalty shootout defeat at Pride Park Stadium.
The Young Rams fought back from a 2-0 deficit in the first-half to level the scores thanks to goals from Jahmal Hector-Ingram and Jordan Brown.
West Ham restored their lead midway through the second-half, but a late Hector-Ingram strike levelled the scores again, before Alfie Lewis was sent off for the visitors.
The tie eventually went to penalties, with a sudden death save from Joseph Anang securing West Ham’s progress.
After securing progress to the knockout stages thanks to victories over AS Monaco, Feyenoord and Southampton, Derby County faced West Ham off the back of a 6-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the Premier League Cup at the weekend.
But the Young Rams didn’t continue where they let off, conceding twice inside the opening eight minutes.
Oladopo Afolayan connected with crosses from Ben Johnson and Mesaque Dju respectively to give the Hammers an early two-goal lead.
Derby grew into the game with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Josh Shonibare forcing their way into the penalty area and having efforts blocked.
The Under-23s continued to show signs of forcing their way back into the game, and were granted an opportunity as goalkeeper Anang made a rash decision to claim a high ball with his feet, bringing down Callum Minkley in the process.
Hector-Ingram stepped up and made no mistake from 12 yards, as Derby got a crucial goal back before the break.
Visiting goals scorer Afolayan was forced off at half-time after receiving lengthy treatment on the pitch just before the interval.
Matt Yates was forced into a fine one-v-one stop in the opening minute of the second-half as Dju raced through on goal.
Dju was made to pay for the miss minutes later as Alex Babos’ inswinging corner met the head of Jordan Brown, who powered past Anang from inside the six yard box.
Yates was called into action again on the hour mark, excellently palming away 25-yard volley from experienced Ukraine international winger Andriy Yarmolenko, before Shonibare went close to completing the comeback from Festy Ebosele’s low cross.
The game continued to go from end-to-end, but it was the visitors who struck a third with 20 minutes remaining.
Johnson creating on the right again for the Hammers, as Bernardo Rosa restored West Ham’s lead from his delivery.
Derby responded with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. Brown drove the Young Rams upfield, set Babos, who was the creator again, this time for Hector-Ingram.
He made it 22 for the season and 3-3 on the night as he calmly brought down Babos’ delightful ball into the area and slotted past Anang for a second time.
Lewis received his marching orders on the stroke of extra-time following his second booking for a mistimed foul.
There were no goals in extra-time, so penalties would be the decider at Pride Park.
The Hammers were first up, and scored their opening three. Derby scored the first two, but Cameron Cresswell saw his saved by Anang.
A Yates save, and a Xande Silva miss presented Hector-Ingram with a chance to win it for Derby, but his effort clipped the crossbar.
Both sides scored the next two, with Brown and Ebosele striking for the Young Rams, but after Josh Okotcha made it 6-5 to the visitors, it was up to Tyree Wilson to level things, but Anang saved and sent West Ham through.
Derby County: Yates; Ebosele, Minkley (Stretton, 120), Wassall, Anya; J. Brown, Cresswell, Babos; Hepburn-Murphy (A.Brown, 79), Hector-Ingram, Shonibare (Wilson, 69)
Unused subs: Sephton, Foster, Bardell, Splatt
West Ham: Anang, Johnson (Ashby, 99), Longelo, Sanchez, Akinola, Okotcha, Yarmolenko (Odubeko, 90), Lewis, Afolayan (Rosa, 45), Silva, Dju