West Ham United Ladies put in a strong defensive performance, but couldn’t stop Brighton & Hove Albion securing a 1-0 win at Sussex FA HQ on Sunday.
In a fixture where the Hammers had their backs to the wall for the majority of the game, Brighton tested the Hammers Indian international goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan several times, but just couldn’t beat her.
That was until the 74th minute when Brighton struck the winning goal as a stray ball into the box from Deanna Cooper found a way past Chauhan.
Marc Nurse had a reshuffle of his pack after the Hammers’ recent defeat away to Tottenham Hotspur a week ago. Chauhan was again named between the sticks at the end of a week where she celebrated her 23rd birthday and being named the Woman in Football winner at the Asian Football Awards, whilst Teni Charles made her West Ham debut in attack and Kelsey Smith awaited her debut on the bench.
Brighton narrowly missed out on victory over the Hammers a number of weeks ago at AFC Hornchurch when midfielder Shirvae Edwards came off the bench to fire in a vital equaliser against the run of play.
Fast forward to Sunday and the Seagulls instantly went about their business as the aimed to go one better this time and secure all three points, but the Hammers defence, led by captain Katie Bottom, were strong and continually denied their hosts.
West Ham managed one shot on target in the whole of the opening 45 minutes, but Italian midfielder Giulia Ferrandi could only find the grateful hand of Brighton keeper Faye Baker from distance.
In the second half, Brighton continued their relentless attack of the West Ham goal, but the visitors refused to be budged and ensured that they stood strong.
The deadlock was broken with just over 15 minutes left when Cooper managed to find the net from a cross which totally evaded all the Hammers defence, including Chauhan.
West Ham tried their hardest to try and start an attacking move, but the Seagulls were too strong and could have scored again in the closing stages.
The game went from bad to worse when Nurse’s side had to end the game with just nine players as Italian midfielder Erika Campesi picked up an injury in a strong tackle, whilst Hannah Wheeler was unable to continue and had to be taken off.
Brighton looked to make use of the extra numbers and extend their lead, but again Chauhan was the last line of defence that refused to be beaten again.
Nurse’s side will be hoping for three points when they head to Plymouth Argyle on Sunday 29 November, with kick-off at 2pm.
Ladies: Chauhan, Ritson, Wheeler, Bottom (c), Strange, Campesi, Miller (Anderson-James), Ferrandi, Charles (Smith), Pinna (Hinz). Subs not used: Sammons, Edwards.