Captain Little heads Ladies to victory

Lewes Ladies 0-1 West Ham United Ladies
FA Women's Premier League Southern Division

West Ham United Ladies got their season back on track with a 1-0 win at Lewes Ladies on Sunday afternoon.

After two defeats within the previous week, the Hammers recorded a second victory out of three FA Women's Premier League Southern Division games as captain Stacey Little headed in the only goal of the game on 16 minutes. The win takes the Hammers to fourth in the table.

Hammers boss Julian Dicks made three changes to the team that started in the midweek home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur. Katie Bottom, Zoe Lipley-Hinton and Lily Mellors were named in Dicks' starting XI, with Lindsey Morgan and Kelley Blanchflower dropping to the bench, while Jess Barling sat out due to injury.

West Ham came out for the first half determined to overturn a tough patch that has seen them crash out of the FA Women's Premier League Cup at the first hurdle and taste defeat in Dicks' home competitive debut as manager.

The visitors nearly got a shock after just two minutes when Kirstie Spice's left-wing cross caught Hammers goalkeeper Nikita Runnacles off guard before bouncing off the top of the crossbar and out of play.

Captain Little led the charge as she went close to heading the Hammers in front after nine minutes when she timed her run perfectly to meet Sarah McCrea's corner, but Stacey Parkinson managed to palm it away to deny the skipper.

Lewes came back strong and had two chances to take the lead, but neither Chloe Howe nor Faye Rabson could beat Runnacles in the Hammers goal.

The hosts had clearly failed to learn from Little's headed effort minutes earlier as McCrea again whipped in a perfect corner, Little's powerful header clattered off the underside of the bar and into the back of the net.

Stacey Little

Stacey Little headed West Ham United Ladies to victory

Lewes responded strongly as they picked themselves up and started putting pressure on the Hammers backline. However, the visiting defence stood firm to ensure they did not concede in the closing minutes of the first half.

The hosts started the second period well, growing with confidence after several early chances, but Runnacles was again equal to all their efforts on goal.

Down the other end of the pitch, West Ham had their own chances as Emma Sherwood, Vicky Kinsman and McCrea all had shots on target which Lewes goalkeeper Parkinson dealt with comfortably.

The Hammers were put under pressure in the closing minutes, though a looping effort towards the away goal was the closest the hosts came to equalising as the visitors saw out the remaining minutes to take all three points.

Sunday's victory gives the Ladies confidence going into a trio of home fixtures over the coming weeks. On Sunday 14 September, the Hammers host Copeswood Ladies, before welcoming Plymouth Ladies on the 21 September and Portsmouth Ladies on 28 September.

All of these fixtures are scheduled for 2pm at Aveley FC's Mill Field Stadium, admission just £4 for Adults and £2 for U16s.

Ladies: Runnacles, King, Baxter, Revell, Bottom, Little, Lipley-Hinton (Morgan), McCrea, Mellors (Donohoe), Sherwood, Kinsman
Subs not used: Blanchflower, Kelly