West Ham United Ladies come into this match on the back of a defeat that has seen them drop to 10th in the FAWPL Southern Division table as coupled with that loss 5-1 at home to Portsmouth FC Ladies the teams around them picked up vital wins to move them away from the bottom two. Fair to say their minds might have been looking towards tonight's game at the Upton Park coming just 2 days later not much time to recover.
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies will be looking forwards to this game just as much getting to play at a top class men's stadium under the lights. Played Sunday too in and will be in buoyant mood having scored a last minute winner against FAWPL Southern Division leaders in the quarter finals of the FAWPL League Cup to make it to the last 4 of the competition. Have a few out through injury but a large squad with players ready to step up to the 1st team.
The Boleyn Ground, Upton Park is one of the most famous stadiums in England with a rich history the club are doing well in the FA Barclay's Premiership and this is a great venue to showcase the women's game tonight. Under the lights, one stand open on a crisp clear night the atmosphere building nicely with both the ladies and men's clubs promoting the game.
West Ham United Ladies starting XI - Beth Griffiths, Daniella Ritson, Katie Bottom (C), Hannah Wheeler, Olivia Sammons, Rosie Missen, Karen Ray, Erika Campesi, Gemma Abela, Whitney Locke & Cindy Ferreira.
subs - Erica Turner, Chelsea Hinz, Laura Curtis, Liz Berkeley & Sasha Kelly.
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI - Toni-Anne Wayne, Molly Kmita, Jenna Schillaci (C), Alex Keown, Rosie Kmita, Shannon Moloney, Riana Soobadoo, Sophie McLean, Lucia Leon, Wendy Martin & Ronnell Humes
subs - Chloe Morgan, Amy Cooper, Leah Rawle, Kelley Blanchflower & Leanne Mabey.
The teams enter the pitch to plenty of noise from the crowd. It's Tottenham who will kick off the 1st half wearing white shirts and socks with navy shorts. West Ha lined up opposite wearing claret shirts with blue collar and sleeves, white shorts with claret socks. The ball is played long down the middle from the start, runs through to West Ham goalkeeper Beth Griffiths for an early touch of the ball.
Tottenham start the brighter of the 2 sides the ball is played out into the left channel with Ronnell Humes making the run into space drives for the byline her cross closed down put behind for a corner kick, sent in towards the near post is a West Ham head who rises to head clear. Lucia Leon is fouled by Karen Gray as she looks to power her way with the ball down the right wing. Alex Keown comes up from the back to take it, whips in a good ball along the six yard line, Erica Campesi get's her head on the ball to clear it for West Ham. Opening 5 minutes and the ball hasn't been out of the West Ham half.
When West Ham do get possession inside the Tottenham half the move breaks down and the visitors bring it out with pace Sophie McLean carrying it through the centre of midfield has Rosie Kmita racing up the left to offer support for the pass, the ball is rolled into her path taking it to the edge of the penalty area looks to put the cross in for Wendy Martin to attack, delivers it too close to the goalkeeper Griffiths claims it.
West Ham are looking to get the ball into Whitney Locke in attack to hold the ball up with Cindy Ferreira looking to make a run into the channels for her. Ray get's hold of the ball good pass into Locke back to goal in front of the D, is closed down by Keown and Tottenham captain Jenna Schillaci in the centre of defence, a Kmita in both full back positions for Tottenham both are looking to bring the ball forwards Molly Kmita up the right bringing the ball, Rosie Missen tracks back and charges down her attempted cross as she looks to pick out Martin and Humes inside the box.
Molly Kmita bringing the ball down the right again turns inside this time heading for the corner of the area, several west Ham players converge on her by the time she shoots their are too many bodies to get through, the ball blocked rebounds out to Riana Soobadoo in the middle pulls the trigger her shot flies in towards goal, but straight into the gloves of Griffiths.
|Tottenham's Molly Kmita with West Ham's Karen Ray|
Tottenham come again, Martin holding her run behind the centre backs is put through on the left, surges into the area coming in towards the six yard box shoots and fires her shot over the cross bar. Gemma Abela in the midfield for West Ham puts the ball into Locke coming to the left, drawing the centre backs out with her, there is space in behind Ferreira makes the run Locke tries to pick her out 20 yards out, through to attack the goal, except Rosie Kmita is round on the cover to tackle her and win the ball back.
Locke is fouled by Keown in front of the dugout frustrated by the decision the defender kicks the ball out towards the dugout and instantly becomes public enemy number one inside the ground as a chorus of boo's rings out. Another free kick comes west Ham's way wide right, Ray to send the ball into the box is cleared out of the Tottenham penalty area, drops to Wheeler on the edge of the box, untangles her feet to get a shot away, is drifting wide, as Tottenham goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne comes across to gather.
Keown is booed once again as she goes to take a free kick but anyone who has seen Keown play will know this is only going to motivate her, the crowd is lively good to hear enjoying it so far. West Ham are working hard to close Tottenham down trying their best to disrupt their flow. The ball is put into Martin in a central position 20 yards out Humes edge of the box to her right Martin passes to her then breaks in behind the defence wanting the ball back from Humes, gets it running to the right side of the goal, Daniella Ritson gets back to put the block in turning the shot behind for a corner.
Locke rolls off her marker as Abela plays the ball into her has Ferreira free on the left, lays the ball into her path, attacking carrying it into the area gets the shot away, heading in waist height Wayne get's everything behind it to bring the ball down and hold. Most of the attacking play has been with Tottenham so far 1st half however the longer the game has gone on and with the crowd behind them West Ham are growing in confidence. Bringing it up the right the cross is put along the face of the area Abela is there but the ball won't sit for her as she tries to control for the shot is closed off the ball.
Late into the 1st half Leon brings the ball down the right wins Tottenham a corner is played up the line for Humes who delivers a diagonal ball across the area high towards the far post area with Martin and Leon their to receive, Leon rises to meet the ball is under challenge turns it wide of goal.
Half-time West Ham United Ladies 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
A goalless 1st half comes to an end at Upton Park. Hasn't been too many clear chance, Tottenham have had more of the ball and created more going forwards, West Ham have done well closing down but Ferreira and Locke have often been isolated in attack no one in the wide positions looking to get in behind.
West Ham get the 2nd half underway. Tottenham have made a change at half-time with Moloney coming off and Kelley Blanchflower an ex West Ham player on. An early free kick inside the West Ham half sees Keown come to take the crowd still giving her stick. Keown goes to play the ball long looking to catch the keeper out drop the ball over her under the bar, the floating ball doesn't quite come down drops onto the roof of the net.
West Ham's midfield players are higher up the pitch 2nd half working to close Tottenham down inside their own half the ball is won and sent out to the right with Ferreira bursting in behind running towards the area looks to shoot early lifts the ball over the cross bar.
|Tottenham's Riana Soobadoo with West Ham's Rosie Missen|
Losing possession as they look to attack Soobadoo sends the ball long for Humes to chase on the right picking the ball up coming to the edge, Bottom gets across to challenge the ball going out for a throw. Keeping the ball down that wing Tottenham get a corner kick. It's cleared out to half way before being rolled back into Martin back to goal sees Humes on the right side plays her in behind, trying to go around Ritson as she drives for the byline ends up turning her cross behind goal inside the area.
Keown up to take another free kick is enjoying the banter gives the crowd a wave, get's even more boo's for it. Has a free kick in the middle of the West Ham half, The runners make there move from the edge of the box to get in on goal as Keown plays it in Leon drifts behind the defence at the right post and getting onto the end of the ball puts it into the back of the net, Tottenham celebrate but t's cut short as the goal is ruled out for offside. Not sure about that one didn't look offside but I'm a long way from it and without a replay it couldn't have been by much, but that'll do.
West Ham make a change Abela coming off as they send on Laura Curtis who goes up top to join Locke and Ferreira in attack. Another Tottenham free kick on the right no need to look up see who the taker is going to be the boo's come again. Keown plays a fantastic high ball into the six yard box Martin jumps for it just misses it, falls to Leon behind her but catching her flat footed can't react before Wheeler takes it from her boots it clear of danger.
Rosie Kmita is played onto the ball down the left by McLean Tottenham lifts her cross into the box looking to pick Leon out, just evades her West Ham don't clear properly comes to Soobadoo outside the box, takes on the shot lifts her effort over the bar. Humes with a strong run on the right powers her way into the area, up against Bottom she manages to get half a yards on her however the West Ham captain recovers well getting a kick on the foot as she blocks Humes attempted shot from 3 yards out. Is hurt needs treatment is off when the corner is taken. The ball is headed down near post falls to Humes 10 yards out to the right of goal puts the ball onto the roof of the net. .
Humes is plays in through the middle her shot is blocked by the defence on the edge of the box the ball swerves into the path of Blanchflower left inside the area, who shoots forcing the save by Griffiths. With an extra attacker up top West Ham have another option, the ball is played from back to front quickly with Curtis getting in between the centre backs looking to get to the ball 1st, Wayne reads the danger comes quickly kicking the ball away outside her area.
GOAL! Penalty to West Ham. Travelling with the ball coming in from the left side Curtis is upended by Schillaci inside the box, the referee points to the spot. It's the captain to take the penalty, up steps Bottom hits it hard sending Wayne the wrong way and bungling the back of the net to give West Ham the lead on 69 minutes 1-0.
Curtis has made a difference since coming on, ready to break whenever West Ham win the ball back. The home side get a fee kick on the right level with the face of the area as McLean handles the ball. The ball is played high towards the middle of the six yard box, Wayne comes through the crowd to punch clear. West Ham soon win it back swept out to Ferreira left of attack edge of the box shoots places the ball wide of goal.
2nd change for Tottenham as they bring off Molly Kmita, with Leanne Mabey entering the field, sees McLean drop into the back line with a little over 10 minutes left to play. Tottenham continue to put the pressure on in and around the West Ham area the home side are really working hard to close the ball down shoots are blocked, bodies thrown in the way of everything. Crossing from the right the ball is headed down to the edge of the area again Soobadoo gets to it 1st her shot smashed into a West Ham body spns left picked up by Humes who shoots early drags wide.
A vital challenge from Wheeler inside the box as Martin gets onto the ball as West Ham try to get out of there area. Left side Martin powers her way forwards wants to hit the shot Wheeler dives into the tackle puts the ball out for a corner, cleared. West Ham make another change bringing off Locke and putting Liz Berkeley on into the midfield with 5 minutes left to play. Curtis robs the ball off McLean at the back and is in behind taking the ball on into the area, Keown has alot of ground to cover but does it getting across to block the shot turn the ball behind for a corner. West Ham keep the ball in the corner a goal up these are 3 vital points.
Late corner won for Tottenham, Humes plays the ball short into Soobadoo outside the box she plays the ball into the area Martin gets her head to the ball on target West Ham have bodies on the goal line get it cleared. Taking the ball into the corner once more Martin comes over to win it back launches it long for Humes on the break up the left, takes on the early shot slices it wide. Late change for West Ham Chelsea Hinz getting on in the closing moments for Ferreira.
The final whistle blows and West Ham United Ladies win the match by a single goal, Katie Bottom's 2nd half penalty the difference between the 2 sides. The 3 points getting West Ham back up into 8th in the league table away clear of the relegation battle. Had to work hard for the win dug deep were put under alot of pressure by Tottenham, but defended well the whole defence doing a great job, Griffiths for all the Tottenham possession was rarely troubled. West Ham no doubt feeding off the energy of the occasion and the crowd getting behind them were much improved 2nd half especially with the introduction of Curtis. A frustrating night for Tottenham had so much of the ball and the chances but didn't capitalise.
The match was played in front of a record crowd of 1741, great to see, they enjoyed the occasion hopefully West Ham United Ladies gain new support from the back of it. A great evening of football under the floodlights a it was good to visit Upton Park before West Ham United move to there new home. A special night for the West Ham United Ladies players one they with cherish for a long time.