West Ham United Women secured their first ever Barclays Women's Super League point against Arsenal as they drew 0-0 at Chigwell Construction Stadium in Dagenham on Sunday evening.
The Irons had to weather the storm of Arsenal attacks, particularly in the second half, but they were well worth the point.
Paul Konchesky’s side worked incredibly hard and rewarded a record crowd with a point.
The boss made two changes from their last WSL fixture, a 3-0 defeat to Everton – with Lisa Evans and Kate Longhurst making way from Emma Snerle and Mel Filis.
Spurred on by the nearly 3000 strong crowd in Dagenham, the Hammers started well.
Viviane Asseyi had a long ball from Abbey-Leigh Stringer fired into her feet inside the area, and after distributing the ball out to Filis, Kirsty Smith almost sneaked her way to the back post to get her head on the ball – but it would be headed away from danger by Lotte Wubben-Moy.
Asseyi once against found herself in space to receive the ball, this time on the edge of the area. The France forward looked to curl a strike into the bottom corner, but Manuela Zinsberger was able to claim.
The Irons were not only finding opportunities to race forward, they were also staying reasonably compact at the back and limiting Arsenal to very little in the way of clear-cut chances.
One such ball from Honoka Hayashi allowed Smith to canter forward, driving behind Wubben-Moy. Zinsberger beat her in the foot race and was able to smother the ball.
Arsenal’s best chance of the half fell the way of Stina Blackstenius. Her Sweden compatriot Lina Hurtig beat Risa Shimizu for pace on the far side before playing the ball into the forward, but she couldn’t keep the strike down.
And when the Gunners did eventually hit the target, Mackenzie Arnold was there to make a wonderful stop. Maanum was played in behind by Leah Williamson, who improvised, playing a wondeful ball over the top. However, Arnold got down well to keep the fierce effort out.
Jonas Eidevall’s side grew into the game and started to cause issue for the Hammers backline on a more regular basis, but Arnold again was alive to the danger, keeping her side’s clean sheet intact heading into the break.
In the second half, it was much of the same, with Eidevall’s side trying to break down a stubborn West Ham United defence.
Arnold was having a superb game and did well once again to keep out an effort from Rafaelle on 75 minutes.
Arsenal had more chances in the latter stages, with substitute Katie McCabe letting fly from distance, but the effort Emma Snerle and thankfully rustled the side netting.
Konchesky’s side had to weather the pressure from Jonas Eidevall’s team in the closing stages, but the likes of Cissoko, Fisk and Arnold put their bodies on the line to defend the goal and preserve the point and the clean sheet.
West Ham United: Arnold, Smith, Fisk, Cissoko, Shimizu, Stringer (Parker 86), Hayashi, Brynjarsdottir, Filis (Thestrup 63), Snerle (Longhurst 87), Asseyi (Evans 78).
Subs not used: Hillyerd, Atkinson, Denton, Cooke, Flannery
Booked: Stringer 42
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Rafaelle, Wubbon-Moy, Williamson, Catley (McCabe 68), Little, Maanum, Maritz (Wienroither 68), Hurtig (Pelova 68), Foord, Blackstenius (Gio 78).
Subs not used: D'Angelo, Marckese, Kuhl, Beattie, Agyemang.
Referee: Ritchie Watkins