Flaherty: Clean sheets ‘are like scoring goals’ for defenders



Captain Gilly Flaherty has hailed West Ham United for keeping a clean-sheet in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Bristol City Women. 

Goals from Alisha Lehmann and Jane Ross ensured the Hammers’ 2018 at Rush Green Stadium ended with a victory, as Matt Beard’s side claimed a deserved win. 

While Flaherty was delighted with her team’s finishes in the result, the centre-back took even more pride from the clean-sheet. 

“I remember walking out and the first thing I did was turn around to Anna [Moorhouse] and Brooke [Hendrix] and say: ‘girls, please can we get a clean-sheet today?’” Flaherty told West Ham TV. 

“As a defender, in the defensive unit with the goalkeeper as well, that’s what we pride ourselves on. We’ve not had it recently. We’ve not had them and we’ve let in silly goals. 

It’s a massive result for us. I said in the week that today’s game was a six-pointer. It was a big game.

Gilly Flaherty

“But today we were tight and the clean sheet, to us as the defenders, is a goal to us, so we’re really pleased with it.”

The centre-back, who was named the NicheSolutions’ West Ham United player of the match, also feels the importance of Sunday’s result cannot be understated. 

She continued: “It’s a massive result for us. I said in the week that today’s game was a six-pointer. It was a big game. We needed the points and we couldn’t take anything less than the three.  

“It might be a game that we look back on at the end of the season and say ‘that was a big one for us. That was a vital three points that we needed’. 



“To be completely honest I think we dominated the first half. We got a great goal from Alisha and it was nice to go in one goal up at half-time. I said to the girls that the next goal was a vital one. We expected Bristol to come out and press in the second half. We got defensive and we handled their momentum really well, and Scotty [Jane Ross] goes and gets a goal as well to seal it at the end. It’s a brilliant day for us.”

With the win under the team’s belt, Flaherty is already looking ahead to next weekend’s match away to Brighton and Hove Albion, as the Irons look to end 2018 with a decent run of results.

“It’s going to get tougher now,” Flaherty added. “We’ve got Brighton away next week and Yeovil away, which are two hard games to go away to. 

“We just have to do what we’ve done today. We have to fight and we have to be determined. The focus now turns to Brighton and we’ve got a week to prepare for that game and making sure we go and get the three points again.”