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West Ham United 2-4 Manchester United
West Ham United’s wait for an FA Women’s Super League victory continued after an impressive Manchester United side won an entertaining six-goal encounter at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
Unsurprisingly, it was a fluent start from United. Katie Zelem and Alessia Russo forced smart saves from Australian international stopper, Mackenzie Arnold, while Ella Toone fired wide as the visitors – unbeaten in all four of their first FAWSL outings – outlined their intent.
Martha Thomas was largely involved in the Hammers best moments. However, with the East Londoners forced on the back foot during the early stages, the Scottish striker found herself somewhat isolated during their increasingly sporadic attacks.
It came as little surprise when United grabbed the lead
Russo was on hand to pick up the pieces after Leah Galton had diverted a pinpoint centre onto the foot of the upright.
And United swiftly doubled their advantage. Tobin Heath supplying an emphatic right-footed finish after the busy Russo had played sent her clear.
Adriana Leon was a fraction too high after cutting in from the left. However, West Ham were to reduce the arrears when Emily Van Egmond – another of the Hammers Australian imports – powerfully headed beyond Mary Earps after Rachel Daly had picked her out exquisitely from the right flank.
But hopes of a West Ham fightback were ruthlessly crushed within Russo headed home her second of the contest – Galton superbly fashioning the opportunity – to restore United’s two-goal advantage.
Adriana Leon forced Earps into action, while Rachel Daly dragged another attempt to the wrong side of a post as West Ham restarted brightly. But with a mountain to climb, the result now appeared to be a formality.
Millie Turner nodded over as United looked to extend their lead further, but Rachel Daly provided a potential late twist when she lifted over Earps from an angle to raise Hammers hopes.
But again, West Ham was unable to sustain the momentum. United substitute, Christen Press arrived at the far post to volley home a fourth. The visitors had been good value throughout.
Worryingly for Matt Beard’s charges, they have picked up just a single point from a possible fifteen – a slump which needs to be arrested unless a relegation battle is to become a real possibility over the coming months.
West Ham United now turn their attention to the FA Women’s Continental League Cup when Reading are the visitors to the Chigwell Construction Stadium on Wednesday, November 4 (7:30pm).
West Ham United: Mackenzie Arnold, Cecile Redisch, Gilly Flaherty (Capt), Martha Thomas (Katerina Svitkova 60’), Kate Longhurst (So-Hyun Cho 60’), Adriana Leon (Alisha Lehmann 60’), Kenza Dali, Grace Fisk, Emily Van Egmond, Laura Vetterlein (Lois Joel 73’), Rachel Daly Subs not used: Courtney Brosnan (GK), Leanne Kiernan, Nor Mustafa, Ruby Grant
Booked: Emily Van Egmond (foul), Rachel Daly (dissent), Kenza Dali (foul)
Goals: Emily Van Egmond 39’, Rachel Daly 83′
Manchester United: Mary Earps, Lotta Okvist, Amy Turner, Abbie McManus, Ella Toone (Lucy Staniforth 76’), Katie Zelem (Capt) (Hayley Ladd 68’), Leah Galton, Jackie Groenen, Millie Turner, Alessia Russo (Christen Press 77’), Tobin Heath (Kirsty Hanson 62’) Subs not used: Emily Ramsey (GK), Jessica Sigsworth, Jane Ross, Kirsty Smith
Goals: Alessia Russo 20’, 42’, Tobin Heath 24’, Christen Press 83′
Referee: Ryan Atkin
Assistants: Ayrton Hursey and Joseph Gray
Fourth Official: Jack Packman