Ross header secures win over Brighton & Hove Albion
Jane Ross’ second goal in two FA Women’s Super League games was enough to see West Ham United claim a deserved 1-0 victory away to Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Scottish international rose highest to glance home her effort from Julia Simic’s cross just after an hour, following an excellent team move by the Irons.
Esmee de Graaf would also strike the woodwork while Alisha Lehmann went close to extending the scoreline.
But it would be Ross’ finish that would secure successive league wins for the Irons.
The Irons could have opened the scoring after just three minutes. A defensive lapse led to an early corner for the away side, which Claire Rafferty whipped in. The ball was met by captain Gilly Flaherty, but her header was straight into Hourihan’s grasp.
Another set piece a few minutes later meant another chance for Matt Beard’s side. This time, Ross headed a Rafferty ball, although the effort went wide of the far post.
West Ham were the better attacking force in the first half and Ross had another opportunity just before the midway point of the opening period, firing an effort from the edge of the area, which was slightly over the cross-bar.
Brighton grew into the match as the first 45 minutes developed. Anna Moorhouse was equal to a powerful strike after the home side looked to catch the Hammers out on the counter.
Chances were hard to come by for both teams in the remainder of the first period, and a level score was fair as the teams headed down the tunnel for the interval.
The second period began in similar vein to the first, with West Ham going close early on. Esmee de Graaf couldn’t quite latch on to an Alisha Lehmann cross, before a similar situation led to a clearance after a goalmouth scramble a few minutes later.
West Ham were let off on 56 minutes after a loose pass was intercepted by Kayleigh Green, which allowed two Brighton forwards to attack Moorhouse’s goal. Green opted to shoot from distance, which went wide, rather than driving further into a dangerous position.
The Irons made the home side pay on 64 minutes with a brilliant goal. Kate Longhurst laid the ball off to Simic, who whipped in a terrific first-time cross. The ball was met superbly by Ross, who turned a glancing header into the far corner of the net.
The lead could have been doubled just moments later, as Lehmann and De Graaf again combined, leading to the Dutch forward unleashing a strike that clattered against the outside of the near post.
Lehmann had a massive opportunity to kill the game off on 87 minutes, latching onto a pass in a dangerous position, only to see her strike well saved by Hourihan.
The Hammers were able to hold on and claim an excellent win on the road, and a second successive victory in the FA WSL.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Hourihan; Barton, Rafferty, Williams, Perry; Green, Brett (Buet 46), Peplow, Whelan; Umotong, Brazil
Substitutes not used: Gillett, Harris, Gibbons, Legg, Simpkins, Natkiel
West Ham United: Moorhouse; Longhurst, Flaherty, Hendrix, Rafferty; Reichardt (Sampson 76), Simic, Visalli; Lehmann, Ross, De Graaf (Kmita 88)
Substitutes not used: Spencer,
Goals: Ross 64