Seven is heaven for Ladies in season finale
West Ham United Ladies ensured their campaign ended in style on Sunday as they were 7-1 winners over London rivals Queens Park Rangers at Rush Green.
Goals from captain Rosie Kmita, teenage forward Kelly Wealthall, left-back Jasmine Auguste, a hat-trick from Player of the Year Ellie Zoepfl and a penalty from Rebecca Dunning secured the victory over the west Londoners, which saw the Hammers leapfrog above Chichester Ladies into seventh place in the FA Women’s Premier League.
The hosts – cheered on by a 1,333–strong crowd – were on the front foot from the first whistle and went close after three minutes when midfielder Molly Clark lashed an attempt just over.
On 12 minutes, Wealthall had her first effort on goal, though it was turned away by a defender, while Kmita volleyed over at the back post in the same move.
Just before the half hour mark, Karen Ray’s side thought the lead must have been coming but striker Zoepfl’s centred cut-back was just behind the onrushing Wealthall.
But it was 1-0 on exactly 30 minutes. Kmita, picking the ball up in a wide right position, cut-back onto her stronger left foot and whipped the ball past Dolbear in the QPR goal to put the Hammers in front.
And that lead was doubled just before the half time whistle, as Wealthall broke forward from a Kmita pass, only to hit the post before scoring as the ball rebounded kindly back to her.
Early in the second period, defender Chenise Austin rose highest in the penalty area from a corner kick but saw her effort turned away on the goalline, while Zoepfl suffered similar hard luck from the resulting set piece.
The American had an even better opportunity to grab a third on 58 minutes, but despite hitting the target from six yards as the Hammers broke, Dolbear was on hand to keep it out.
However, a five-minute flurry saw QPR go from having slim hopes of getting back into the game to none at all as the Hammers raced into a five-goal lead.
First, August got herself on the scoresheet. The left-back raced down the flank and got to the byline, crossing deep towards the far post. The ball instead, however, drifted over the keeper’s head and into the far corner of the net to make it 3-0 to the Hammers.
Zoepfl – the Ladies’ Player of the Season – was next to get in on the action. Played in down the right, the American closed down on Dolbear before calmly slotting past the keeper into the far corner with ease.
Moments after, again the No4 found herself in the box, and taking it round the keeper, she could barely miss as Ray’s side raced into a five-goal lead.
With just over 15 minutes of play for the Ladies’ campaign remaining, Zoepfl capped a dominant performance by bagging her hat-trick goal. Auguste, already on the scoresheet, was again heavily, seeing the keeper deny her powerful attempt before Zoepfl reacted quickest in the six-yard-box to nod in a sixth.
With around five minutes remaining at Rush Green, Helen Ogle grabbed a consolation strike for the Hoops, turning past Staunton after a mistake from Hannah Wheeler.
But there was time for one final celebration of the season as Rebecca Dunning, on as a substitute, smashed into the net from the penalty spot after Dayna Chong had been fouled in the box. 7-1 for West Ham, and seventh spot in the FA Women’s Premier League confirmed.
West Ham United: Staunton, Mackie, Wheeler, Sampson, Austin (Dunning 80), Auguste, Clark, Mabey (Burr 80), Zoepfl, Wealthall (Chong 69), Kmita
QPR: Dolbear, Glynn, Hennessey, Anes, Chimbima, Peacock, Ogle, Bytyqi, Lawrence, Maggs, Petit
Subs not used: Lynch, Hogan, Knell