Thomas strikes as Hammers fall to late Spurs comeback

Martha Thomas 726

Two late strikes saw West Ham United women's team fall to a 2-1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur in their final pre-season friendly of the campaign.

West Ham had led for the majority of the match with Martha Thomas netting her first goal in front of the Claret and Blue-clad supporters at Rush Green Stadium, having spun away from her marker to finish well from a perfectly-weighted Tessel Middag pass. 

But despite having largely the better of the second-half chances, a late rally from the visitors yielded two goals in the final ten minutes, the first when substitute Angela Addison was quickest to a loose ball inside the area to prod into an empty net, and the second when Lucia Leon tucked home a low cross.

Fresh-season optimism came bundled with fresh faces at Rush Green Stadium, with West Ham head coach Matt Beard granting five summer signings – as well as 16-year-old academy graduate Wiktoria Kiszkis – their first outings at the West Ham Women’s home.

And it was the newcomers who immediately set about making an impression upon the Hammers faithful, the dynamic Jacynta Galabadaarachchi in particular picking up pockets of space as she looked to feed new strike partner Thomas.

Three minutes in, and one such passage of play produced the first clear-cut chance of the match. Some lovely one-touch passing gave Galabadaarachchi the room to switch it out to right winger Adriana Leon, and her whipped cross towards the far post was cut out just inches away from Thomas’ toe. 

The clearance was improvised, however, and dropped invitingly into the path of the onrushing Kiszkis on the edge of the area. The youngster’s return strike was powerful and goal-bound, but Spurs’ defenders did well to dive in and block on the six-yard line.

This newly-promoted Spurs side were not prepared to sit back, however, and threatened when a near-post dash from striker Lucy Quinn allowed Ria Percival the chance to find her in space. She took a touch, but could only send a venomous effort sailing across the goal.

Three minutes later, and West Ham came close to taking the lead themselves. Katharina Baunach’s in-swinging free-kick saw new signing Laura Vetterlein clamber up well to head it towards the back post. With the ball drifting wide, Middag did well to stoop and head its bounce goalwards from a few yards out, but stretching her neck muscles she could only nod it agonisingly onto the post.

Middag was beginning to exert an impressive influence on the game, and at the 23 minute mark, it was the Dutch international whose smart turn and well-judged lofted pass set Thomas away to open the scoring.

Once again the visitors bounced back, however, and, six minutes later, Quinn showed quick feet to cut past Baunach on the right, her looping cross bouncing off the top of the bar with debutant Courtney Brosnan in the West Ham goal stranded.

That was the last action of note in the first half but, within five minutes of the restart, it was almost mirrored by West Ham when Leon dribbled Tottenham left-back Siri Worm, scooping her cross against the outside of the near post.

Leon's threat down the right grew as the second half went on, and she began to find plenty of space in particular finding behind Spurs left-back Worm.

After struggling to control a through-ball on 68 minutes, Leon’s pace took her clear just four minutes later. One-on-one with the keeper, but with the angle ever-narrowing, her near-post drive was initially blocked well, the follow-up shot from Galabadaraachchi also being saved well.  

Despite continuing to make some threatening inroads on the wing, West Ham were ultimately made to pay when Tottenham's quick turnaround leant the scoreline a harsh reflection on an encouraging Hammers performance, ahead of their Barclays FA Women’s Super League opener against Arsenal next weekend.

West Ham United: Brosnan (Moorhouse 45); Hendrix, Flaherty (c), Vetterlein, Baunach, Middag, Cho, Galabadaarachchi (Fronc 88), Leon, Thomas, Kiszkis (Lehmann 71)

Sub not used: Beaufort

Goal: Thomas (23)

Tottenham Hotspur: Morgan; Quinn, Graham (Mclean 67), Davison (Addison 67), Haines, Percival, Schillaci (c), Neville, Worm, Ayane (Leon 75), Godfrey

Subs not used: Jarrett, Drew

Goals: Addison (81), Leon (88)

Attendance: 695


Spurs at London Stadium