West Ham United 2-3 Bristol City
Barclays Women’s Super League, Chigwell Construction Stadium, Sunday 5 November 2023, 3pm GMT
West Ham United women’s team were narrowly beaten 3-2 by Bristol City in the Barclays Women’s Super League on Sunday afternoon.
Things started well for the Irons at Chigwell Construction Stadium, as Izzy Atkinson’s shot was blocked by the hand of Megan Connolly, allowing Viviane Asseyi to step up and convert from the penalty spot after 27 minutes had been played.
However, the away side rallied and found themselves almost immediately level, with former forward Amalie Thestrup heading home. The Robins then turned the game on its head on 37 minutes, with Ella Powell reacting quickest to a save from Mackenzie Arnold to smash the ball home and put the away side ahead.
However, that wouldn’t be the last action of the first half, as Riko Ueki notched her third goal in West Ham colours, finding space and drilling a strike into the bottom corner.
Bristol City edged in front after half time, with Brooke Aspin heading home from a free-kick on 55 minutes. And that would prove to be the final goal in the contest, as the Hammers slipped to a narrow defeat.
Skinner made one change from the 1-1 draw with Liverpool which took place before the international break, with Atkinson coming into the team for Emma Harries, who dropped to the bench.
And after players, staff and supporters paused to remember the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, as well as all those that have lost their lives in conflict, the game began under the setting east London sunshine.
The Hammers created the first two chances of the contest just before the 10 minute mark. Ueki first saw a shot blocked inside the area, and moments later, Honoka Hayashi looked to pull the trigger but had the ball stolen from her feet at the vital moment.
Hayashi was involved again five minutes later, reacting first to a loose ball after Atkinson had delivered a floated ball into the area. The Japanese midfielder let fly from the edge of the box, but her shot didn’t trouble Kaylan Marckese in the Bristol City goal.
Skinner’s side continued to control possession as they looked the more likely to open the scoring, and they were presented with an opportunity to do so on 27 minutes. A lovely flowing move from back to front saw Kirsty Smith deliver a low cross into Atkinson, who’s shot hit the hand of a Connolly, giving referee Kirsty Dowie no choice but to point to the spot.
Asseyi stepped up and made no mistake from the spot, slotting in her first goal of the season.
But the lead lasted a little over four minutes, with Jamie-Lee Napier delivering a cross that was met with power by Thestrup, with the former Hammer heading beyond Arnold on 32 minutes.
And the Robins netted a second five minutes after notching their first. More good work out wide resulted in Thestrup having another chance which was initially well turned away by Arnold, but Powell was there to follow up and smash the ball home from close range.
But the Hammers would find a way to go in at half time level. Ueki managed to find half a yard of space and slotted an expertly placed strike beyond Marckese.
In the second half, Bristol would get themselves in front after 10 minutes of action, with Aspin managed to make contact with a flighted free-kick and subsequently heading beyond an onrushing Arnold.
Skinner’s side controlled the play as they went in search of an equaliser for the second time in the match, but Bristol City maintained a threat on the counter attack. Thestrup thought she’d bagged her second of the game on 74 minutes, only for her sliding effort to be ruled out for offside.
Hammers boss Skinner made changes as she looked for a way back into the game, including brining Jess Ziu off the bench, with the Republic of Ireland international making her first appearance since picking up an ACL injury in October 2022.
And whilst Ziu and her fellow substitutes added energy, and a late strike from Mel Filis forced Marckese into action late on, they couldn't help the team find a late equaliser, with Bristol City taking home all three points.
West Ham United: Arnold ©, Smith, Cissoko, Cooke, Denton (Ziu 83), Hayashi (Stringer 64), Shimizu, Evans, Atkinson (Ademilyui 83), Ueki (Filis 68), Asseyi.
Unused Subs: Walsh, Tysiak, Harries, Stapleton, Flannery.
Goals: Asseyi 27, Ueki 45+3,
Bristol City: Marckese, Powell Harrison 71), Layzell, Aspin, Connolly ©, Rogers, Furness (Syme 71), Napier, Thestrup, Jones, Morgan.
Unused Subs: Clark, Struck, Hayles, Mustaki, Bull, Teisar, Ward.
Goals: Thestrup 32, Powell 37, Aspin 55
Booking: Napier 6, Furness 17, Harrison 79, Marckese 90+1
Referee: Kirsty Dowie