West Ham United Ladies completed a difficult 2013/14 FA Women's Premier League South season with a 6-2 defeat at Portsmouth on Sunday afternoon.
The Hammers put in a spirited performance at Furze Lane, scoring two late consolation goals through forward Sarah McCrea, but the loss means West Ham finish the campaign tenth in the eleven-team table.
A mid-season change in management and a record of just four victories from 20 league matches were not the return the Ladies had been hoping for after they ended the 2012/13 season in sixth place. That said, winning the Essex FA County Cup for a third time in their club's history in April did at least give the girls something to celebrate this term.
On Sunday, Portsmouth took the lead after just 12 minutes when Gemma Hillier was brought down inside the penalty area and Sarah Kempson despatched the resulting spot-kick. Within three minutes it was 2-0 as Kempson crossed for Lucy Quinn to convert past Jessica Parlane in the Hammers goal.
After both sides had missed chances to score, Quinn made it 3-0 on 33 minutes when she stepped up and expertly fired a direct free-kick past Parlane. Four minutes before the break, the goalkeeper was again beaten from long range when Nadine Bazan belted Hillier's lay-off into the net from 25 yards.
To complete a miserable first half, Hillier netted herself a minute before the interval to make the half-time score 5-0 to the hosts, with West Ham's best chance seeing the lively McCrea denied by goalkeeper Sadie Blakely.
Into the second half and West Ham continued to battle, with both McCrea and Kelley Blanchflower going close to reducing the deficit. However, with 16 minutes remaining, Pompey netted a sixth when Gemma Simmonds chipped over Parlane and into the net.
McCrea's late double restored some pride for the visitors, who now head into their summer break hoping for better in 2014/15.
Ladies: Parlane, Bottom, Powles, Revell, Sammons (Page 61), Masters, Lipley-Hiton, Little, McCrea, Blanchflower, Solly
Sub not used: Picton