Off-side blunder overshadows Hammers derby clash

West Ham United Women v Chelsea Women – FA Women’s Super League – Chigwell Construction Stadium – Report

West Ham United Women 0-2 Chelsea Women 

Despite not being at their best, Chelsea returned to the top of the Women’s Super League after a 2-0 win over West Ham at the Chigwell Construction Stadium with Aggie Beever-Jones and substitute Erin Cuthbert on target for the Blues.

The victory was Chelsea’s sixth win in succession over four competitions and sees them move back above Manchester City on goal difference and still on track for a potential quadruple at the end of the season.    

Rehanne Skinner made two changes to the West Ham starting line-up following their 3-1 loss at Prenton Park to Liverpool last Sunday with Jess Ziu and Anouk Denton replacing Hawa Cissoko and Emma Snerle, whilst Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes brought Ashley Lawrence, Jelena Cankovic and Aggie Beever-Jones into the side following the 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge last week.  

West Ham had a great chance to open the scoring with just twenty seconds on the clock only for French international Viviane Asseyi to head Riko Ueki’s cross agonisingly wide of the upright before with just over a minute played, Lioness Lauren James’ clever layoff found Beever-Jones in the centre of the box to slot the ball home past Mackenzie Arnold for her sixth WSL goal of the season.

West Ham were presented with an excellent opportunity for an equaliser just five minutes later when Ziu’s low cross found Kirsty Smith with an open net in front of her – only for the former Manchester United defender to miscue the ball wide of the left post from close range. 

After good build-up play through the middle, the Hammers had the ball in the net in the fourteenth minute when Honoka Hayashi turned and spun in the area to finish beautifully into the bottom left-hand corner past keeper Hannah Hampton – only for the East Londoners ‘goal’ celebrations to be quickly curtailed by the assistant flagging for offside.

The decision proved to be extremely controversial as the television replays of the incident shown on Sky Sports appeared to confirm the officials had wrongly disallowed Hayashi’s effort with Chelsea defender Lawrence clearly playing the Japanese midfielder onside.

Amber Tysiak of West Ham United tussles with Mayra Ramirez of Chelsea (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

The Hammers were dealt a further blow after twenty-one minutes when Katrina Gorry collided badly with Melanie Leupolz and following prolonged treatment to her injured knee, the Australian was helped from the field to be replaced by Marika Bergman-Lundin.

Ueki’s speculative thirty-yard effort out on the right went close to restoring parity just after the half-hour mark, with her shot skimming the crossbar before bouncing to safety with Hampton beaten.

With the last chance of the half, Asseyi powered through the Chelsea defence to create a clear-cut goalscoring opportunity for herself only to sky high over the crossbar with only Hampton to beat.

Just after the resumption, James’ cross found Beever-Jones to nod the ball over the crossbar at the back post and Blues again went close to doubling the score shortly after when the sub–Mayra Ramirez’s effort trickled off the post before being desperately cleared to safety by the West Ham defence.

Fran Kirby was introduced in place of James just after the hour mark, for her 200th Chelsea appearance since joining the club from Reading in 2015.   

Cuthbert sealed the points for Blues two minutes from time after controlling Catarina Macarion’s corner with her chest before firing sweetly into the roof of the net from just outside the six-yard box to make it 2-0.

In the end, a disappointing day for the Hammers but they can take pride in a spirited performance, during which they more than matched Chelsea but for the combination of a very poor decision by the match officials, the woodwork and squandered scoring opportunities throughout, they could – and in all probability should – have taken at least a point from the afternoon.

Next up for West Ham in the WSL is the visit of Brighton & Hove Albion to the Chigwell Construction Stadium on Easter Sunday (3pm) while Chelsea welcome Ajax to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of the Women’s Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday (8pm).

West Ham United: Arnold (Capt) Smith, Shimizu, Tysiak, Ueki, Zadorsky, Ziu (Snerle 64’) Denton (Cissoko 82’) Hayashi, Asseyi (Harries 82’) Gorry (Bergman Lundin 21’) Subs not used: Walsh, O’Hanlon, Cooke, Ademiluyi

Chelsea: Hampton, Nusken (Macario 55’) Carter, Leupolz, James (Kirby 63’) Lawrence, Rytting-Kaneryd (Reiten 82’) Charles (Capt) Buchanan, Cankovic (Cuthbert 55’) Beever-Jones (Ramirez 63’) Subs not used: Musovic, Ingle, Perisset, Bjorn

Referee: Megan Wilson

Assistants: Ceri Williams and Aimee Keir

Fourth Official: Callum Parke