Beard hails Hammers character in Bristol City win

Matt Beard

Matt Beard was delighted with the character his West Ham United team showed in their 2-1 victory against Bristol City, as Leanne Kiernan and Jane Ross scored a goal each to win the three points.

The Irons failed to take their chances and were made to pay on 59 minutes when Bristol substitute Heather Payne came off the bench to give the Vixens the lead.

However, the Hammers showed great fight to get back in to the game. Kiernan started the comeback with a great low finish in to the bottom right corner of the goal after some good play from Brianna Visalli and Alisha Lehmann.

With only minutes left on the clock Ross secured the three points for West Ham with a great headed finish from Visalli’s cross.

After the game Beard told “It shows good character from the team, we said after the game that at the start of the season it would’ve taken us a week of training and the next game for us to get back in to games. That happened in the semi-final against Reading, we went one behind and came back in to it. 

“The girls have shown great character and if I’m honest we should’ve been in front comfortably at half-time, but we didn’t take our chances and the goalkeeper made a good couple of saves, but that’s football. As I say, we showed immense character to get back in the game and win it at the death.

“We’ve shown good character again today, maybe we need to show a bit composure when we get in to good positions to finish off some of the chances that we create, especially in the first half.”

Beard was full of praise for his two goal scorers today, especially with Ross playing in the midfield role and the progress of Kiernan over the season.

Beard said: “Jane’s obviously very experienced and is a good player, we obviously brought her in to score goals. 

“She had to do a different job for us today with the injuries that we’ve got and the suspensions, so she played in midfield, but that probably suited her a little bit with how she arrived in the box for the goal. 

“Leanne’s been fantastic all season. It’s her first year playing professional football and she’s come in and done really well. We’re really pleased with how she’s progressed over the course of the season. “

The Hammers now only have one more league game left against Brighton & Hove Albion, but before that is the FA Cup final against Manchester City. Beard commended his team’s season, but knows the Irons want to win the final games of the campaign.

The head coach said: “We’ve still got two more games left to play and we said at the hotel before the game that we wanted to get six points out of the last two games so we can finish as high up the league table as possible. And obviously we’ve got the FA Cup final next week to look forward to.”