Matt Beard is satisfied with how his West Ham United side performed to claim a vital 3-1 victory at home to Lewes in Wednesday’s FA Women’s Continental League Cup match.
Leanne Kiernan opened the scoring for the Irons before Kenza Dali’s double to put the Hammers in complete control of the midweek match, and although Lewes were able to find the net in the second half, the home side held on to claim a big win and take Group D down to the final match.
With Wednesday’s win, West Ham could reach the quarter-finals of the competition should Beard’s side beat Crystal Palace in early December, and the head coach is delighted his side bounced back from Sunday’s loss to offer a composed showing.
We've put ourselves in a good position. Our target was to get out of a tough group and, if we can do that, it will be good achievement.
“I’m really pleased with our first half performance,” Beard said. “I thought we were excellent. The second half, we dropped off a bit, but we’ve got the win, which is very important.
“The Chelsea result, beating Tottenham, went our way as well, which means the group goes down to the last game for us. We’ve put ourselves in a good position.
“Every competition is important, and we had the toughest group in the tournament. It is a testament to the players. We had a tough opening game against Chelsea and then the Tottenham game saw us show a lot of character to come back. We beat Reading as well which has set us on our way.
“Our target was to get out of the group and if we can do that, it will be a good achievement.”
The head coach made special mention of the two youngest players in his squad after their respective efforts in Wednesday’s win. Jacynta Galabadaarachchi was key to the Hammers’ first two goals, setting up Kiernan’s finish before winning the penalty that Dali netted just before the half-hour mark, while Academy graduate Wiktoria Kiszkis made her third showing of the season from the bench in the second half.
Beard is happy with how the No15 is progressing, having moved to West Ham in the summer, and also says that Kiszkis has reached the senior squad thanks to her excellent performances in the West Ham United Academy.
He added: “Jacynta is coming on leaps and bounds. We’ve done a lot of work with her in training and we have to remember she’s only young and she’s come around the world to play for us.
“I thought she was excellent in this game. She tried a bit too hard in the second half because she really wanted a goal. She’s a young player who will learn from both the first and second half tonight, in different ways. We can all see her talent and potential, and she’s only going to get better.
“Wiktoria is in our squad on merit. She’s been excellent for the Academy side and she is doing really well in Poland. She’s come on in our last two games and done well in both games. And that’s the way we like to do it. If a player is good enough, they will play.”