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West Ham United 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
West Ham United’s recent revival was concluded as a resolute Brighton & Hove Albion side recorded a single-goal FA Women’s Super League victory at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
Back-to-back triumphs in the league and Continental Cup had lifted spirits following a tough start for Matt Beard’s charges. The Hammers boss used his programme notes to explain: “We come into this game in good form, having won our last two matches in all competitions,”
“We showed different qualities in each game, taking our chances at home to Reading in the Continental League Cup, before displaying a lot of character and resolve to battle back and get three points at Birmingham City.”
But it was to be another frustrating afternoon for the East Londoners, who passed up the chance to leapfrog Brighton in the FAWSL table.
During an honest, but scrappy opening Rianna Jarrett was a whisker away from distance for the Seagulls, while West Ham’s Emily Van Egmond fired wide and Martha Thomas directly at Norwegian stopper, Cecile Fiskerstrand, as early opportunities were exchanged.
Thomas perhaps should have done better, glancing wide a pinpoint centre from Van Egmond, meanwhile, Fiskerstrand was forced to hack clear after the Hammers duo had again combined in a bid to force an opening.
West Ham appeared to be dealing with the blustery conditions slightly the better. Thomas fired agonisingly wide after Katerina Svitkova had played her in. Brighton responded, with Aileen Whelan, inquisitive of referee Abigail Byrne, following a melee in the Hammers six-yard box.
Mackenzie Arnold did well to deal with Danielle Bowman’s troublesome flag-kick as the elements began to favour Brighton after the restart.
Adriana Leon was a fraction too high with a dipping effort, then sent another attempt wide of an upright as the host’s continued to create the lion’s share of the chances.
But the Hammers were to suffer a setback with little over twenty minutes remaining. Jarrett lifted over the advancing Arnold before nodding into an empty net despite the attentions of Gilly Flaherty, sparking wild scenes of celebration amongst the Brighton party.
Arnold was at full stretch to deny Inessa Kaagman a swift second. West Ham – desperately trying to salvage the situation went close, again through Thomas.
But a goal to the good and with time on their side, Brighton were now able to dictate. Brosnan comfortably saved from substitute Kenza Dali, while skipper, Flaherty blazed wide as the home sides’ attacking toil became more sporadic.
West Ham United now turn their attention to the Continental League Cup where they face Charlton Athletic at The Oakwood on Wednesday, November 18 (7:45pm). The Hammers return to FAWSL action on Sunday, December 6 when they visit the KIngsmeadow Stadium to take on Chelsea (2pm).
West Ham United: Mackenzie Arnold, Rachel Daly, Gilly Flaherty (Capt), Grace Fisk, Laura Vetterlein, Emily Van Egmond, Cho So-Hyun (Hawa Cissoko 81’), Katerina Svitkova (Kenza Dali 66’), Adriana Leon (Leanne Kiernan 90+1’), Martha Thomas, Alisha Lehmann (Cecilie Redisch 81’) Subs not used: Courtney Brosnan (GK), Lois Joel, Longhurst, Grant, Nor Mustafa
Brighton & Hove Albion: Cecile Fiskerstrand, Felicity Gibbons, Dannielle Bowman (Capt), Danique Jerkdijk, Maya Le Tissier, Aileen Whelan, Inessa Kaagman, Denise O’Sullivan, Kayleigh Green (Nora Heroum 81’), Emily Simpkins (Lee Geum-Min 67’), Rianna Jarrett (Libby Bance 90+3’) Subs not used: Megan Walsh (GK), Rebekah Stott, Ellie Brazil, Kirsty Barton, Faith Nokuthula
Booked: Kayleigh Green (foul)
Goals: Rianna Jarrett 68’
Referee: Abigail Byrne
Assistants: Ayrton Hursey and Farai Hallam
Fourth Official: Rebecca Welch