Dicks happy with five-star win

West Ham United Ladies manager Julian Dicks was delighted with his side's five star performance against Plymouth Ladies on Sunday.

First half goals from Vicky Kinsman, captain Stacey Little and Sarah McCrea set the Hammers on their way to their first home league victory this season, before the result was confirmed in the second period as McCrea scored two further goals to claim a hat trick.

Despite being impressed with the Hammers comfortable 5-2 victory over the Pilgrims, Dicks believes that the Ladies second half performance wasn't up to par and still needs improving.

"It was a good result, but the performance in the second half wasn't good enough," admitted Dicks. "In the first half, I thought the girls were fantastic, but in the second half we took our foot off the pedal and let Plymouth back into the game when it should have been dead and buried.

"Plymouth had quite a few chances near the end where the girls were not dealing with the ball properly but they were told about that at the end.

"That being said, it was a fantastic result and must give the girls confidence after scoring five goals."

Dicks has revealed over the past few weeks that his team have failed to improve in certain areas of their performance, although the former Hammer of the Year was chuffed to finally see his side adapt to the necessary changes that were needed to gain their first home victory of the season.

"To a degree, the things that we've been working on did come together, but like everything, it could still be better," Dicks continued. "They gave us quite a bit of room to play in and once you start coming up against the better teams, that space is not going to be there.

"You're always going to create chances in a game and not score, but for me, it's about the way that they played in the second half, which wasn't good enough.

"My players weren't dealing with the ball and they were trying to take the ball down from 50ft rather than just putting their foot or head through it.

"You don't need to invite pressure onto yourself, especially when you are 5-1 up at the time as we were.

"Going forward we were fantastic and confident that we would score, but we also looked like we might concede too.

"It's not about just the strikers or defenders as it's a team game and we'll work on it in training like we do every week.

"The only real down side from this game for me was the way that we performed in the second half."

One of the Hammers' star performers on Sunday was winger Sarah McCrea, who netted a hat trick to take her league tally for the season to four goals in five games. McCrea's performances this season have impressed her boss.

"For anyone to bang in a hat trick is fantastic. Sarah has worked hard through pre-season, like all the girls have, but she is probably one of our most consistent performers so it's nice that she got her goals."

Sunday's game saw 22 year old Development Squad striker Whitney Locke make her first team debut off the substitute's bench, with Dicks hoping that the speedy striker keeps impressing throughout the season whatever level she is playing at.

"I thought Whitney did really well! It's always difficult when you play a few games for the Development Team and then get dragged up to the first team but I thought she played well.

"She'll hopefully get some confidence out of playing 20-25 minutes and having one or two chances on goal.

"Hopefully she enjoyed it and all she's got to do now is keep going and keep improving. Even if she goes back to playing for the Development Squad for a while, all she has to do is keep playing and keep scoring."

The Hammers are back in action on Sunday with a third consecutive home fixture as Portsmouth Ladies head north from the South coast to take on Dicks' side.

After smashing five impressive goals past Plymouth, the West Ham manager feels that his side have something positive to continue in their next fixture if they brush up on the minor negatives from the Plymouth match.

"It gives the girls something positive to go into their next game with, especially after scoring five goals.

"Winning breeds confidence but as I've said to the girls, it's about being good over 90 minutes, not 45 minutes. I said to the girls at half time when it was 3-1 that I wanted another 3, 4 or 5 goals which we could've had if we had of gone into the second half playing like we did in the first half.

"At the end of the day, it's a learning experience for them and I'm happy for the girls."