Defending WSL champions City put West Ham Women to sword in seven-goal show
PUBLISHED: 17:33 14 October 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Defending Women's Super League champions Manchester City crused West Ham Women 7-1 at the Academy Stadium on Sunday, but the scoreline did not reflect the brave performance of the visitors.
City took the lead inside two minutes when Scotland international Caroline Weir hit a scorching volley over Hammers goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer and into the net.
And it wasn’t long before the Sky Blues doubled their lead as Nikita Parris picked up a poor clearance from Ria Percival and looped a perfectly executed back header over the advancing Spencer and into the net for her fifth goal of the season.
City boss Nick Cushing would have been delighted with his side’s start and they had a third on 17 minutes when Parris was set free on goal before rounding the onrushing Spencer and slotting the ball into the empty net.
West Ham were struggling to deal with the home side’s pace going forward, however they created their first chance on 19 minutes when Alisha Lehmann fired a perfect cross to the back post to Julia Simic but she blazed her effort over the bar when well placed to score.
The Hammers then settled down from the early onslaught and had another good opening on the half-hour mark when Lehmann skipped past a challenge from Claire Emslie before her cross found former City striker Jane Ross, but her effort was well blocked by Steph Houghton.
Five minutes later it was the visitors who threatened again as the impressive Lehmann played an inch-perfect pass to Simic but she fired her effort across Ellie Roebuck’s goal and wide of the target when the ball looked like it was creeping in.
City were playing some superb one touch football and they cut the West Ham defence open on 40 minutes when Esme Morgan and Caroline Weir played in Emslie but just as she was about to let fly she was well tackled by Erin Simon.
In a frantic start to the second half West Ham had a perfect opportunity to pull a goal back as Ross was played in on goal by Brianna Visalli but she was denied by a fantastic save from the legs of Roebuck.
On 53 minutes it was the Hammers once again who had a fine chance to score as Roebuck made another fine save after Visalli had cut inside from the right.
However, Cushing’s side could have had their fourth on 61 minutes as Gemma Bonner’s cross was well blocked by Claire Rafferty before the ball looped into the air before being well claimed by Spencer.
Spencer made another fine save on 64 minutes as Kiera Walsh got behind Rafferty but her effort across goal was well saved by the fine reactions of the keeper.
City did have their fourth on 72 minutes when Spencer’s chipped clearance to Rafferty was picked up by Parris before she drove past Brooke Hendrix and unselfishly squared the ball to substitute Georgia Stanway and she slotted the ball into the net.
Roebuck in the City goal was called into action a minute later as she made another excellent save this time to keep out a long-range strike from Kate Longhurst. City however added a fifth on 75 minutes when Houghton met a Weir free-kick before thumping her header into the net and out of the reach from the despairing dive of Spencer.
As West Ham began to tire Spencer made yet another fine save as she tipped over a curling strike from an acute angle from Walsh.
But the home side added a sixth as the fantastic Tessa Wulleart played a defence-splitting pass to Stanway and she made no mistake in slotting the ball beyond Spencer.
West Ham responded in a positive fashion and went up the other to pull a goal back as Esmee De Graaf got behind the Blues defence before smashing the ball past the onrushing Roebuck for a goal their work rate deserved.
However, City added a seventh on 86 minutes as Wulleart unleashed a powerful drive that slipped out of the hands of Spencer and into the net and there could have been an eighth in the finnal minute as Stanway crossed to the far post to Houghton, but she couldn’t reach the ball and it trickled behind.
West Ham Women: Spencer, Percival, Simon, Hendrix, Flaherty, Lehmann, Ross, Simic, Rafferty, Longhurst, Visalli.