Beard hails ‘committed performance’ in Brighton victory
Matt Beard could not be happier with his West Ham United side’s ‘committed performance’ after the Irons earned a 1-0 victory away to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Jane Ross’ 64th minute header saw the Hammers pick up a second successive Women’s Super League victory, lifting the side to sixth in the table.
With maximum points in the last two matches, Beard was thrilled with how his side performed in Sunday’s match.
“I’m delighted with our performance,” the head coach told West Ham TV. “It was a good performance and I feel like we controlled the game.
“In the first half, we let it become a little bit scrappy. Brighton were very direct and we defended really well. The second half, we were a little more composed on the ball. We played some good stuff. I’m delighted for Rossy, with another goal, and what a good move it was to create the opportunity.
Across the board, from everyone, it was a really committed performance, and I’m delighted with it.
“We had a couple of opportunities to finish the game off at the end. We didn’t take them but we deserve credit because we managed the game really well in the second half. Across the board, from everyone, it was a really committed performance, and I’m delighted with it.”
It was a fantastic team move that led to the only goal of the game. Kate Longhurst set up Julia Simic for a first time cross, with the German’s ball being glanced into the far corner by Ross for her second goal in as many games.
Beard believes that such a fine effort from his side comes from their hard work on the pitch and the relationships that have been developed over the last few weeks.
He continued: “We work on these routines every day in training. We are constantly working on our patterns and different scenarios.
“It was always going to take us time for these relationships to build on the pitch. If you look at the first half against Bristol last week, I thought Alisha, Rossy and Leanne [Kiernan] were outstanding. They caused all sorts of problems but unfortunately, we lost Leanne with the injury. I thought Esmee was fantastic today. Her work rate was excellent.
“If you look at Alisha’s second half performance, she was constantly stretching their defence and creating so much space, and that is where the chance has come from.”
The head coach also reserved high praise for his captain, Gilly Flaherty, who made her 100th appearance in the FA Women’s Super League, marking it with a fantastic performance at the back.
The No5 helped her side to another clean-sheet and Beard was determined his team would get the win today to help mark Flaherty’s monumental achievement.
He added: “Gilly has been outstanding. We saw it today with her performance out on the pitch. She was brave in the tackle, winning the headers, getting in good positions, organising the players around her. It’s an amazing achievement for her.
“We said just before the game about what a great achievement it is, and to make sure we won the game today for her.”