Beard: One afternoon won't ruin our fantastic season
West Ham United head coach Matt Beard says he won’t let Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion spoil the Irons season.
Brighton scored two goals in the first-half after Kayleigh Green scored into an open net after Anna Moorhouse came out of her goal. Then Megan Connolly fired a shot from the distance that squeezed under the arms of the West Ham goalkeeper.
In the second-half sloppy play in the defence allowed Amanda Nilden to finish calmly. Then in the closing stages, Ellie Brazil scored the Seagulls' fourth.
After the game, Beard expressed his disappointment with the result but is proud of the whole season.
I’m not going to let one afternoon spoil everything we’ve done over the course of the year.
The head coach said: "It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey over the course of the year and you could see in the cup final last week that the season caught up with us, especially that last 10 minutes.
“Yes it’s a frustrating result, yes it wasn’t a good enough performance today, but I’m not going to let one afternoon spoil everything we’ve done over the course of the year. The injuries have hurt us over the course of the season, and it hadn’t given us the real opportunity to rotate and keep players fresh.
“It’s a frustrating afternoon for us, Brighton deserved it and we didn’t, and we’ve just got to take it on the chin."
The game against Brighton also marked the end of Claire Rafferty and Lucienne Reichardt’s football careers as both players have made the decision to retire.
Beard had nothing but praise for both players and wishes them all the best going forward in the future.
Beard said: “I’ve known Claire for many years. Not only has she been a great professional, but she’s also great in the dressing room, she said some really inspiring words at the end there to the group about being students of the game.
“Unfortunately for Raff, the injuries have taken their toll and I’d have loved for her to have played today, but she got injured in the Cup Final. She’s been a fantastic role model for all girls and women across the country.
“Lucienne came here to try something different; she’s been great in the dressing room. She’s a great character, she’s a warrior on the pitch and obviously, we’re going to miss that.
“I wish both of them well for whatever holds for them in the future and they’re both very very talented and clever people and I’m sure they’re going to be ok with whatever they do.”
Over 1,400 fans turned up for the final game of the season and Beard was full of praise for the Hammers fans who have supported the squad throughout the season.
“They’ve been fantastic and I’m sorry we couldn’t give them the performance that they deserved today, but I will always go back to the Reading game.
“The support there was fantastic and right the way across the year they’ve bought in to what we’ve been doing and the one thing we will always be grateful for is the noise that they’ve created home and away.
“I think just from my perspective; we know that we’re going to be better and we’re going to be better for this campaign over the course of the season. We will come back stronger and we will come back better as well.”