Ladies lose out to leaders

  • Ladies beaten 5-0 by league leaders Coventry United on Sunday afternoon
  • Hammers recover from difficult first half to blank visitors after half-time
  • Captain Amy Cooper says team will take belief from their second-half performance

A spirited West Ham United Ladies were beaten by Coventry United in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division.

The Hammers fell 5-0 down by half-time at Thurrock FC’s Ship Lane on Sunday afternoon, but dug in to prevent their high-flying opponents from adding to their tally after the break.

Captain Amy Cooper was pleased with the way the home side recovered from the shock of conceding early goals, and said the second-half performance gave the squad cause for optimism.

“We worked hard in the first half but we let them break us down with sloppy mistakes,” said Cooper.

“In the second half we were more organised but couldn’t put our chances away. We showed improvement which was encouraging, and so onto next week’s cup game.”

The visitors shrugged off the effects of a delayed journey from the Midlands – which caused the kick-off to be delayed by half-an-hour – to go ahead within the opening eight minutes through Alison Hall’s improvised finish.

Having gone ahead, and playing with a confidence and intensity that the hosts initially found it difficult to match, and it took a brave Hannah Wheeler block to prevent Coventry doubling their lead on 18 minutes.

However, from the resulting corner, Coventry captain Natasha Lynch reacted quickest inside the penalty area to poke the ball past goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan and into the bottom corner.

Moments later, Hall scored her second of the game to make it 3-0, rising above the West Ham defence to head home powerfully from another corner.

Then, just past the half-hour mark, Hall completed her hat-trick, beating Chauhan with a low, hard shot.


Despite falling behind, West Ham did not give up, with Katie Bottom leading the charge with a number of determined challenges on the right flank.

Unfortunately, a firm but fair challenge also resulted in lively Hammers forward Shannon Albuery being forced off with a knee injury, to be replaced by substitute Kat Clifton.

To add insult to injury, Hall scored her fourth goal, and Coventry’s fifth, with a long-range strike a few minutes before half-time.

There was still time for Whitney Locke to miss West Ham’s best chance of the game before the break, with the forward flashing a shot across the face of the Coventry goal.

After the break, the Hammers seemed to find their rhythm and began to stroke the ball around, with Dayne Chong, Chloe Burr and Locke catching the eye, in particular.

Amy Cooper and Kat Clifton managed to gain control of midfield and the defensive pairing of Wheeler and Auguste quietened the hitherto rampant Coventry forward line.

Olivia Sammons replaced Sasha Kelly on the hour, allowing Bottom to take up a central midfield role, from where she could be more effective.

West Ham finished the stronger of the two sides but there were to be no further goals, meaning Coventry remain unbeaten and top of the table, while Greg de Carnys’ Hammers sit tenth.

The Hammers take a break from league action this coming weekend, when they welcome Keynsham Town Ladies to Ship Lane for an FAWPL Plate third-round tie. Kick-off on Sunday is at 2pm, with free admission for Under-16s and tickets priced at £5 for Adults.