Ladies regain top spot

Gillingham Ladies 0-2 West Ham United Ladies

West Ham United Ladies went back to the top of the FA Women's Premier League South after securing a 2-0 victory over Gillingham.

An Emma Thomas free-kick was deflected past her own goalkeeper by Gillingham defender Sarah Jones to give the Hammers the lead midway through the first half before a Thomas corner was headed in by Stacey Little shortly before half-time to make the game safe.

With pre-weekend leaders Keynsham Town seeing their match postponed, Julia Setford's side took full advantage at Thurrock FC to leap-frog their title rivals into top spot.

"It was a great win," said the manager. "The girls played really well and it was a good all-round team performance. We kept possession of the ball and worked it, and when we couldn't go anywhere we kept it. We played across the park and when the openings came we took our chances."

West Ham are now two points above Keynsham, who have a game in-hand, while third-placed Portsmouth are seven points adrift having played two matches less than the Hammers.

"Portsmouth are a big threat to us and obviously Keynsham are chasing behind us all the time, while Charlton are also a threat to us. They are all big threats to us because every single week, we think it's not going to be easy because everybody wants to beat the team at the top.

"Hopefully, if we stay professional then we can go all the way."

Captain Nat Gratfon said the Ladies had rediscovered their confidence after a difficult spell in late January that saw them knocked out of the League Cup at Leicester City before being beaten 2-0 at home by Keynsham in the league.

"The team spirit is really good," said Grafton." We went through a patch when we were a bit rocky on the pitch and we weren't getting results, but we've picked it up again. We all work as a team and we defended from the front and I think that's what has killed teams off this team and last week.

"We're closing them down in their own box, attacking for the whole game and not let letting them out and now we've got that belief back and we're still sitting at the top.

"We're defending up high and I think that helps because it's hard for them to get through to us at the back. When they do, we're nice and tight as well and it's making it hard for teams to break through us again like it was at the start of the season. We've re-grouped and got it back and it's going well for us."

The Ladies travel to Colchester United in the Essex County Cup semi-final on Sunday before hosting the same opposition in the FA Women's Cup fourth round on Sunday 27 February.