Late show secures Ladies victory

Vicky Kinsman's added-time goal was enough to see the Ladies defeat Cardiff City 1-0 on Sunday
West Ham United Ladies ended an unbeaten week by picking up a late 1-0 victory at home to Cardiff City Ladies on Sunday.

After grabbing a last minute winner against the Bluebirds just a week ago on Easter Sunday, Julian Dicks’ side followed it up with a 0-0 draw at home to high-scoring Charlton Athletic on Tuesday evening ahead of Sunday’s reverse fixture against the Welsh side.

After a game full of opportunities at both ends, the Hammers launched a late attack that saw winger Kelley Blanchflower wriggle away behind the Cardiff back line, before squaring for Vicky Kinsman to finish.

Manager Dicks had an almost full squad available for the first time in months on Sunday. Kat Clifton was the only change to the starting line-up, replacing Kayleigh Xidhas, who dropped to the bench. 

Adele Sale also took a place on the bench after returning to the squad after a break, while Jade Smith again looked to make an impact after pushing up from the Development Squad.

In the opening ten minutes, midfielder April Bowers failed to shrug off an injury that she picked up over the past few days, meaning Dicks was forced into an early change. Striker Emma Sherwood dropped into the middle of the midfield alongside Clifton, with Lily Mellors pushed up front, allowing Smith to come off the bench and cover out wide.

The windy conditions caused several problems for the Hammers throughout the first half, helping the visitors to create several chances on goal.

Cardiff had the best opportunity of the opening half when a long-range strike was tipped over the bar by a fantastic save from Hammers goalkeeper Nikki Duncan.

Just before the break, the Hammers had two chances of their own to break the deadlock. Firstly, a foul inside the Cardiff penalty area meant that Clifton’s goal was ruled out, before Mellors fired high over the bar from the edge of the box.

During the second half, both sides were looking for the all-important goal to split the sides. Smith continued to pressure the visitors down the wing, while the speed of Mellors caused Cardiff all sorts of problems.

With 15 minutes left, Dicks made his next two changes as he looked to secure a second victory of the week. Xidhas was introduced in place of Mellors, while Sale replaced Clifton in the middle for the last few minutes of the game.

The winning goal came two minutes into added-time when Blanchflower’s determination saw her get past the last defender on the halfway line, before driving towards goal and squaring for Kinsman to smash past Laura O’Sullivan.

West Ham now have just three league fixtures remaining this season, with their next game being at home to Lewes Ladies on Sunday 19 April 2015 at 2pm. This recently rearranged fixture is yet to have an assigned a ground, with information being announced on the Ladies Official Twitter account at @westhamladies when decided.

Ladies: Duncan, Stimson, Revell, Little (c), Bottom, Bowers (Smith), Clifton (Sale), Blanchflower, Mellors (Xidhas), Sherwood, Kinsman
Sub not used: King