Matt Beard could not contain his delight at the character shown by his West Ham United team to secure a 2-1 win away to Everton Ladies on Sunday.
Despite going behind after just five minutes, courtesy of Claudia Walker’s close-range finish, the Irons were able to get the three points thanks to Jane Ross’ headed effort and Alisha Lehmann’s classy strike from the edge of the penalty area.
A battling showing saw the Hammers get their first win on the road in the FA Women’s Super League this season and Beard is thrilled with the conduct his team showed against the Toffees.
“I’m really pleased with how we’ve responded to going one goal behind,” Beard told whufc.com. “It was frustrating but I felt we dominated the first half and fully deserved to go in 2-1 up at half-time.
“Character-wise, our performance was fantastic. From the work rate and some of the football we’re working on in training, you can start to see these relationships forming and people understanding each other and their traits and triggers.
We showed a different side to our character today. I was really impressed with the effort we put in.
“Perhaps there’s one or two things we need to tidy up on, but I thought we were excellent in the second half. We had chances to finish the game off in the second half. Okay, we haven’t taken them, but we showed a different side to our character today with our defending and blocking shots and crosses. I was really impressed with the effort we put in.”
The Irons opted for a 3-5-2 formation in Sunday’s match with Esmee De Graaf and Erin Simon featuring for the side as the wing-backs.
Beard was happy with how his side adapted to the set-up he implemented for Sunday’s match, and explained the need for the team to dominate the midfield against the Toffees.
He continued: “I should have played this formation against Manchester City. We’ve worked on it and we’ve been working on different systems as well. I just felt last week against Liverpool, we created some good chances but just didn’t put enough bodies in the box.
“I think, against a team like Everton, we have to dominate centrally on the pitch. With three midfield players and three centre-backs you’ve got a lot of bodies numerically. It’s important that we dominated that and we’ve done it really well. It gives us another option and we’ve got some flexibility. From that perspective, I’m really pleased.”
Beard has also praised goalscorers Ross and Lehmann, as well as other members of his team, for such an impressive performance away to the Toffees.
“There were some great individual performances today. I thought Brianna had her best game for us, I thought Erin Simon was outstanding. We asked Esmee to play wing-back and we only really had a few days to work on that with her. There’s a lot of players that stood up today.
“Vyan was outstanding too. The thing I love about V is that she’s so calm and she really calmed it down today. She was excellent and found some good passes. Everyone was excellent.
“Rossy was excellent today at her hold up play, winning headers, and getting herself out of tight situations. I’m pleased she got the goal because her performances have deserved it. I know she’s been a bit frustrated with herself at times, but one thing you get with Jane is her work rate. She’s an honest, honest professional and I’m really pleased she’s got the goal.
“It’s the same with Alisha. To be honest I spoke with her because I wasn’t going to play her, but I changed my mind at the last minute, because she’s trained really well this week, and that’s obviously paid off. I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that!
“It’s a great day for us. We’ve got an away with and we can now look forward.”