West Ham Ladies secured a festive treat as Romina Pinna’s hat-trick helped the Hammers to a 4-2 win over Plymouth Argyle Ladies on Sunday.
Having not won a FA Women’s Premier League South fixture since the end of October, Marc Nurse’s side were on their way towards an early Christmas present when Italian winder Pinna fired the Hammers into a two-goal lead, before captain Katie Middleton pulled one back for the visitors.
In the second half, Pinna secured her hat-trick and former Millwall Lionesses midfielder Shirvae Edwards added a fourth either side of a second consolation goal for Argyle.
After last weekend’s disappointing 3-1 defeat to fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers Ladies, Nurse made five changes to the starting eleven. Indian international Aditi Chauhan returned between the sticks, whilst Chelsea Hinz and Olivia Sammons lined up in the home defence.
Further forward, Development Squad midfielder Gemma Abela came into the midfield and lightning quick Whitney Locke replaced Erika Campesi on the wing.
In the early stages of the game, the hosts looked confident of ending 2015 on a high as Pinna, Edwards and Locke began causing the visiting defence all sorts of problems.
It took West Ham just 12 minutes to push themselves ahead. After captain Katie Bottom was tripped inside the penalty box, Pinna stepped up and confidently dispatched her second goal is as many games.
Then, just before the half an hour mark, a threaded ball through from Edwards found Pinna in behind and she extended the hosts' lead.
It wasn’t all plain sailing in the first half for Nurse’s team though as Middleton found enough space inside the Hammers penalty box to smash home a goal through Chauhan.
After the break, both sides battled it out for the next and probably most important goal of the game, which came with just nine minutes left as Pinna broke through the Argyle defence and rounded the keeper before slotting into an empty net for her hat-trick.
Just a minute later though, Plymouth pulled a goal back and installed a small amount of worry to the home side, before Edwards tapped home from close range to rubber-stamp the result for West Ham.
The Ladies will now rest and relax over the Christmas period, before returning to training to prepare for the visit of Cardiff City LFC to AFC Hornchurch on Sunday 3 January at 2pm.
Ladies: Chauhan, Bottom (c), Wheeler, Hinz (Missen), Sammons, Ray, Abela (Ritson), Miller (Campesi), Locke, Edwards, Pinna. Subs not used: Anderson-James.