Ladies ready for Seagulls test

The Ladies are preparing to play high-flying Brighton this weekend
West Ham Ladies manager Julian Dicks is hoping his side can end their home campaign with a positive result against Brighton Ladies this weekend.

Last Sunday, the Hammers failed to extend their unbeaten run to four games when they suffered a 2-1 defeat at Rush Green against Lewes Ladies.

Dicks’ side have already faced the Seagulls twice this season, losing 6-2 away in the FA Women’s Cup Second Round before falling to a 3-0 defeat in the league. 

With Brighton now chasing the FA Women’s Premier League South title and Dicks is taking lessons he learnt as a player to help his girls achieve a result this weekend.

“Brighton are a fantastic team and quite rightly chasing the title. We’ve played them twice already and in all fairness, they deserved to beat us both times because they were impressive on the ball.

“In the first game, we went 2-0 ahead and went on to lose 6-2 because we stopped playing. Then, the second time we went down there, we didn’t learn from our mistakes and Brighton punished us.

“Whenever you come up against a good team, you have to get under them quickly and work hard from the first whistle. We’ve done that against other teams this season and got results from them.

“When I was playing for West Ham, we came up against Liverpool and Manchester United and the way we got results was to put them under pressure and make them work when we had the ball. I never cared how good the players are on the other team because I knew that if I put them under pressure, there was a chance they’d misplace their pass.

“That’s the advice that I give my girls now because it works. Sometimes when my girls get tired, they kick the ball long thinking that will give them a rest. Giving the ball away only means you have to chase the opposition and fend off another attack, whereas if you keep the ball and pass it, the job is much simpler.”
Dicks was unhappy with Sunday’s defeat to Lewes Ladies. However, the former West Ham left-back believes the girls have a good chance to redeem themselves.

“In the first half, we played okay,” continued Dicks. “We were passing the ball around well and we were 1-0 up thanks to Emma Sherwood’s goal. Really, at that point, the game was ours to win. 

“In the second half, the girls came out and did the opposite. It’s disappointing because after getting seven points from nine in a single week against tough opposition, we then went and lost to a team with less points than us.

“With this being our last home game of the season, it would be nice to finish with a good result. As always, I’m looking for a good performance. When you come up against a good team like Brighton, we need to be fit and work hard throughout the whole match if we want to get the result.

“If you look at the league table, I think it’s obvious that we won’t finish any higher or any lower than where we are now. Having said that, our last two league fixtures are against Brighton and Portsmouth and they are both pushing to win the league. 

“We can have a real impact on who wins the league. For me, Brighton are the better side but I just want us to win both games and finish our campaign positively.
Overall, Dicks is pleased with the progression that his team, culminating with the Capital Women’s Cup Final against Charlton next month.

“This season is quickly coming to an end and I am very proud of the girls for the progression they’ve all achieved. Last season was rough for them and even one place higher this season would’ve been good, but finishing sixth with a proper cup final is a very good achievement. 

“I know that I’m not the easiest person to work under because I’ll always speak my mind and demand more from my players, but it’s only because I want the best for them week after week.

“We have the London FA Capital Women’s Cup Final to look forward too and a win against Brighton on Sunday can give the girls real momentum for the game against Charlton. 

“Having said that, the girls shouldn’t need to be pumped up for a cup final as the prize of victory and silverware for a second season running should be enough.”

Kick off on Sunday 26 April 2015 at Rush Green is 2pm. Admission is priced at £3 for adults and £1 for children. Parking is FREE.

Alternatively, keep an eye on the Official West Ham United Ladies Twitter account @westhamladies for LIVE updates throughout the day.