West Ham United Women impress on their WSL debut
In their first game in the Women’s Super League, West Ham hosted Reading at Rush Green Stadium. Due to the uneven number of teams in the league, they were unable to start their campaign at the weekend like everyone else.
For a team that have moved up two divisions, West Ham looked confident and assured as they went up against a Reading side who have been in the league for three seasons. Both sides had a few clear-cut chances to take the lead in an entertaining first half. The Hammers nearly went ahead through Alisha Lehmann but her ferocious effort struck the crossbar.
Rebecca Spencer was in inspired form in the West Ham goal, preventing Lauren Bruton’s low strike with her outstretched foot when the forward was through on goal. With 13 minutes to go before the break, Reading got into a dangerous area, but Erin Simon was on hand to make an excellent tackle and send the shot out for a corner. Early on in the second half, Julia Simic found herself in space and fired an effort on goal but Reading keeper Grace Moloney was equal to it.
West Ham had Spencer to thank once again on the hour mark when she saved a Brooke Chaplen free-kick.
Highly-rated striker Leanne Kiernan almost made an instant impact after coming as a substitute. Her shot from 25 yards sailed just over the bar.
One of West Ham’s best chances came in the 80th minute when Brooke Hendrix got on the end of Gilly Flaherty’s free-kick. Maloney somehow managed to stop the ball finding the back of the net.
Reading had the last opportunity to grab a late winner with one minute left to play. A looping header rebounded off the post and hit Spencer who was able to gather the ball before it crept in.
The match ended goalless which in the end was a fair result. West Ham held their own against Reading and this was a performance they can draw on when they face tougher opposition in the league. West Ham passed their WSL debut with flying colours.