|WEST HAM UNITED LADIES RESERVES||3|
West Ham United Ladies reserve team put in a magnificent performance in the West Country to come back down the M4 with a 3-0 victory at Bristol Academy.
On the back of a couple of poor performances the Hammers looked shaper and together as a team and made the first chance of the game as Emma Harrison’s effort was blocked by the outrushing keeper and both Jo Gigg and Danielle Cliffe saw their follow up efforts blocked by retreating defenders
Bristol looked to play out form the back and had some long spells of possession but continued harrying from the central midfield pairing of Mel Abegglen and Clare Rogers saw them often have to turn and play back s the Hammers refused to play the game on the back foot.
Good midfield play almost slipped Cliffe in on goal but an offside progress halted her run and when she did spring the back line she appeared to barged as she rounded the keeper only for the referee to wave claims for a penalty and what would have been a certain red card away.
At the back Sophie Reed and Leigh Houlihan were in imperious form and winning every header and getting to the loose ball first as the Hammers defended with great assurity. Full backs Ruby Southgate and Amber Matthews ensured crosses were kept to a minimum and supplied well to Jo Gigg and Sophie McLean on either flank to relieve any pressure.
Half time came and the Hammers were told to keep driving forward and look to take control of the second half and this they did to perfection. Fifteen minutes in Sophie McLean won possession and with the resulting shot charged down Danielle Cliffe saw her rebound effort blocked but Clare Rogers was on hand to turn the ball home and give the Hammers a deserved lead.
Bristol quickly pushed forward looking for an instant response but with the defence standing firm a cross come shot off the top of the bar was the only serious worry before the Hammers extended the lead when substitute Olivia Sammons closing hurried the Bristol back line into a misplaced pass and fellow replacement Nicole Learner seized possession and bore down on goal before calmly sliding the ball past the keeper.
Again Bristol pushed for a way back into the game but the back four kept their concentration and discipline to protect keeper Lauren Holman superbly with a couple of shots from distances flying wide of the post the only threat.
The Hammers had the game wrapped up on 80 minutes as some good use of the ball teed up Clare Rogers twenty yards out and she lifted her shot with enough power to beat the keeper outstretched fingers and drop into the net.
Nicole Farmer added fresh impetus to the midfield for the Hammers to calmly see the game out without any threat and the final whistle capped a memorable and hugely deserved away win and a made the long trip home go so much quicker.
Pictures below courtesy of Cliff Rice
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