De Graaf double earns Hammers derby day win

De Graaf


A blistering start to the game saw West Ham United defeat Millwall Lionesses 4-0 in Sunday’s FA Continental Tyres Cup fixture. 

The Irons netted three goals in the opening 12 minutes of the game as Esmee De Graaf, Brianna Visalli and Rosie Kmita found the net. 

De Graaf and Kmita were both able to score from initial saved efforts, while Visalli struck in the ninth minute with a shot from outside the penalty area. 

And, as the game ticked to a close, West Ham’s first goalscorer netted the final finish, putting the emphasis on the result.

The victory was no more than the Hammers deserved as the home side relentless pressed into the Millwall half, seeing a number of chances either blocked or well-saved.

It took just six minutes for West Ham United to take the lead in Sunday’s fixture. Winger Kmita saw a shot saved, but De Graaf was on hand to power home the rebound into the roof of the net. 

Three minutes later, the Irons had their second. Visalli collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area, and struck an effort that Sansom could only palm into her own goal. 

As the gathered crowd as Rush Green came to grips with West Ham’s early advantage, Matt Beard’s side added a third. Jane Ross turned excellently to get a shot away, which was saved. Kmita was on hand to collect the ball, turn inside the area, and coolly tuck into an empty net. 

The Hammers enjoyed opportunities to extend their advantage, with Ross seeing another effort saved before Visalli had a glorious chance to double her own tally, only to put wide from ten yards in a one-on-one situation. 

Alisha Lehmann then struck fear into the Millwall defence with an unstoppable run down the flank, setting up De Graaf on the edge of the area. The Netherlands international saw her powerful effort well blocked on the line, however.

The second period continued in the same pattern as the first, as West Ham continued to look to extend their advantage. Visalli had the first chance on 51 minutes, volleying over the bar from a cross. 

On the hour mark De Graaf had another opportunity for her second after a terrific deep cross from Ria Percival. The midfielder couldn’t turn the chance into the net, however. 
Substitute Julia Simic came close to adding to the tally less than 20 minutes from the end before Ross nearly capitalised on a defensive mix-up by the Lions, although her free header bobbled wide.

With four minutes left, West Ham’s No17 netted a deserved second, and West Ham’s fourth securing a second win on the bounce for the Irons.

West Ham United: Spencer; Longhurst, Flaherty, Hendrix (Sampson 63), Percival; Reichardt, De Graaf, Visalli (Simic 68); Lehmann, Ross, Kmita (Rafferty 58)

Subs not used: Moorhouse, Kiernan

Goals: De Graaf 6, 86, Visalli 9, Kmita 12

Millwall Lionesses: Sansom; Mackie, Priest, Lumsden, Ravanscroft, Clarke, Powell, Auguste, Stenning, Fitzgerald (Giddings 52), Rossiter (Young 70)

Subs not used: Cowan, Bailes, Catalds, Charles