West Ham United v ChelseaWest Ham United 0-2 Chelsea
Barclays FA Women’s Super League
Saturday 7 March 2021
A spirited performance from West Ham United saw them battle to a 0-2 defeat to Chelsea at Dagenham & Redbridge Stadium.
Goals from Sam Kerr and Bethany England secured the victory for the Blues, but the Hammers can take plenty of positives from their performance.
Dagny Brynjarsdottir made her debut for Olli Harder’s side, as the New Zealander made three changes from the 1-0 defeat to Brighton almost a month ago.
The home side started the brighter of the two teams, with Kenza Dali playing a beautiful ball over the top of the Chelsea defence which Martha Thomas latched onto and fired just wide of the mark.
More dangerous play followed with five minutes gone in the contest, as Thomas whipped in a cross that was held by the Chelsea ‘keeper, Zecira Musovic.
However, the away side made the breakthrough despite the early chances from the Hammers. Sam Kerr headed home from close range to put the league leaders ahead on seven minutes.
It was another ten minutes before Chelsea had the chance to double their lead, but Courtney Brosnan was equal to Kerr’s effort.
The Irons were able to create openings, with Thomas doing well out on the right and fizzing in a sumptuous ball into the area that nobody in claret and blue could get a touch on.
Brosnan had to be alert with 27 minutes gone, as she denied Kerr with a superb save at point-blank range to keep Emma Hayes’ side from grabbing a second.
Harder’s side maintained their shape and limited the Blues to very little in the way of clear-cut chances, whilst Thomas looked to make things happen on the counterattack. The Scotland international skipped away from two before misplacing a final ball into Kate Longhurst.
Thomas had another go shortly before the break, as her effort was comfortably saved by Musovic. At the other end, Pernille Harder skipped away from Brynjarsdottir and Laura Vetterlein before rifling a strike into the side netting as the referee blew for half-time.
Chelsea came straight out of the blocks after the break, as Kerr found Bethany England at the back post, and the forward headed beyond Brosnan to double their advantage.
The Hammers regrouped after conceding and continued to go toe-to-toe with their opponents, limiting them to very little in the way of chances.
And the hosts had glimpses of the Chelsea goal, as Dali’s in-swinging corner tested the palms of Musovic, who was able to tip the ball away from danger.
Emily van Egmond was next to go close, as her shot that looked destined to find the back of the net was blocked inside the area.
Chelsea continued to create opportunities going into the latter stages, with the Blues striking the crossbar before Brosnan made a fantastic save to deny Guro Reiten, with the goalkeeper in inspired form all afternoon.
The Hammers were far from out of the game going into the final ten minutes in Dagenham. A great delivery from the right-hand side almost found the head of Thomas, before Chelsea were able to scramble the ball away.
More pressure followed as Thomas continued to be a nuisance for the Chelsea back-line, but Chelsea captain Millie Bright was able to block the effort from inside the area. Kenza Dali fired a free-kick narrowly over the crossbar as the Hammers continued to pepper Musovic’s goal.
The away side were able to keep their clean sheet in tact despite the late pressure from West Ham, as Chelsea claimed all three points at Dagenham & Redbridge stadium.
West Ham United Women: Brosnan (GK), Redisch, Fisk, Flaherty ©, Vetterlein (Cissoko 90'), Dali, Longhurst, Svitkova (Pacheco 78'), Brynjarsdottir, Van Egmond, Thomas.
Subs not used: Ramsey (GK), Mustafa, Barker.
Chelsea Women: Musovic (GK), Bright, Ingle, England, Ji (Spence 82'), Reiten, Mjelde, Kerr (Kirby 68'), Charles (Carter 82'), Harder (Fleming 68'), Andersson.
Subs not used: Berger (GK), Blundell, Leupolz, Fox, Orman.
Goals: Kerr 7’, England 47'