Ladies flying high

West Ham United Ladies made it nine games unbeaten at the start of the 2009/10 FA Tesco Women's Premier League with a superb 3-0 victory over Fulham on Sunday.

New-signing Becky Merritt had a debut to remember, scoring all three of the Hammers' goals as Tony Marshall's side climbed to third in the table.

Indeed Merritt's West Ham United career could not have got off to a better start when she opened the scoring with a left-footed drive from 25 yards after just 26 second. She grabbed her second just 20 minutes later after slotting the ball under the goalkeeper from 12 yards before completing her treble in the second half after being played in by Gemma Shepherd. Shepherd herself had gone close with a couple of shots that whistled just wide.

West Ham United Ladies manager Marshall said afterwards: "The result was a real confidence booster. We had great possession and created lots of chances. Their keeper did well, but we looked very strong and composed. We built from the back time after time.

"Fulham did not get into our box through open play and, once again, Rosey Sullivan and Alex Keown were outstandingin the centre of defence. Carly Roache ran the midfield and Gemma Shepherd's work rate was again excellent."

West Ham now have another stern test of their title aspirations when they play host to current table-toppers Barnet at Thurrock on Sunday.