James 49', Press 55'
Manchester United v West Ham United
Manchester United 2-0 West Ham United
Barclays FA Women’s Super League
Saturday 27 March 2021
Manchester United inflicted a 2-0 defeat on West Ham United at Old Trafford on Saturday morning.
The Hammers stood firm in the opening 45 minutes, but second-half goals from Lauren James and Christen Press secured the victory for the Red Devils.
This was the hosts’ first-ever fixture at the Theatre of Dreams, but Olli Harder’s side set out to spoil the celebrations.
The New Zealander named an unchanged side from the 2-2 draw with Birmingham City last time out in the Women’s Super League.
The Hammers almost took the lead with only a minute gone in the contest in Manchester. A great cross from Katerina Svitkova was bound for the head of Martha Thomas, but Millie Turner was there to head away for the Red Devils.
The home side created their first opportunity with ten minutes gone. Lauren James found some space on the edge of the area, but her effort was gathered by Courtney Brosnan at the second attempt.
Brosnan was called upon again moments later, as Christen Press wriggled free in the penalty area, but her effort from an acute angle was well gathered by the Hammers goalkeeper.
United continued with their spell of dominance, as Gilly Flaherty threw her body on the line to block an effort from outside the area.
The Hammers were a real threat on the counterattack, which was emphasised when Kenza Dali stole the ball in the middle of the park, sending through Dagny Brynjarsdottir to sting the hands of Mary Earps in the Manchester United goal.
Up the other end, United captain Katie Zelem fired over as the home side broke forward from a poor set-piece.
A good opportunity went begging for Casey Stoney’s side with 25 minutes on the clock – Press unable to find James at the back post after the East Londoners had given possession away cheaply in the middle of the pitch.
The home side had another superb opportunity ten minutes later, but Grace Fisk was there to prevent Press’ pass across goal being turned in by James.
It was suddenly a very end-to-end game, as Thomas raced through on goal for the Hammers, only to side foot her effort narrowly wide of the post as the Hammers looked to break out from a spell of Manchester United dominance.
As the clock ticked down towards the break, Dali struck an effort from just outside the area that took a deflection on its way through to Earps.
The Hammers had one more chance to break forward, but Laura Vetterlein lacked support as the referee blew for half-time with the score level.
The second half got off to the worst possible start for Harder's side, as a corner wasn't properly cleared and Lauren James was on hand to head the home side in front on 49 minutes.
Brynjarsdottir and her team-mates looked for an immediate response and the Icelandic international called Earps into her first save of the second half, as the Manchester United shot-stopper got down well to hold her effort.
The home side grabbed a second with ten minutes played in the second half, Christen Press firing past Brosnan to double her side's advantage.
The United States international thought she had a second minutes after her first, but Brosnan tipped her whipped effort over the crossbar.
Brynjarsdottir went close from a free-kick, as the Hammers looked to respond to going two goals behind. Her header was tipped around the post by Earps.
The home side continued to dominate the flow of the match, as they went in search of a third to kill the game off.
Laura Vetterlein received a second yellow and was sent off by referee Lisa Benn for a soft challenge, which left the away side playing for the remaining 15 minutes plus stoppage time with ten players.
Harder made changes late on, but his substitutes couldn't make the difference as the Hammers suffered defeat at the Theatre of Dreams.
West Ham United Women: Brosnan, Redisch (Barker 88), Fisk, Flaherty ©, Vetterlein, Svitkova, Brynjarsdottir (Cissoko 84), Longhurst, van Egmond, Dali (Mustafa 88), Thomas (Pacheco 77)
Subs not used: Ramsey, Denton
Booked: Vetterlein 65', 75' (sent off)
Manchester United Women: Earps, Batlee (Harris 74), A Turner, M Turner, Thorisdottir, Zelem © (Ladd 65), Toone, Staniforth (Hanson 65), Groenen, James (Sigsworth 84), Press (Ross 84)
Subs not used: Bentley, Smith, Jones, Bourne.
Goals: James 49, Press 55
Booked: A Turner 61, Batlle 66, Ladd 90