Beard: We deserved to take points against Arsenal
Matt Beard was left bemoaning missed chances as his West Ham United side fell to a 2-1 defeat against reigning Barclays FA Women’s Super League title holders Arsenal.
Two goals in the first half appeared to put Arsenal in full control of Sunday’s fixture, despite the Irons creating chances, but Martha Thomas’ headed effort on 58 minutes gave the Hammers optimism in the second period.
The striker went close again while Kenza Dali hit the post twice in the closing moments. Adriana Leon also struck the woodwork on an afternoon where, according to Beard, West Ham should have taken at least a draw.
“I’m really pleased with the performance,” Beard said. “In the first half we showed them too much respect and we were too deep. We were worried about movements that weren’t really causing us problems.
“We created some good chances today in both the first and second half. We are bitterly disappointed we’ve not walked away with at least a point.
“It’s a real positive performance and we’ve got seven new signings in the group from the summer. From my perspective, we’ve got to believe in our own ability and convert the chances we are creating. This isn’t a bad start, but we deserved at least a point.”
We created some good chances today in both the first and second half. We are bitterly disappointed we’ve not walked away with at least a point.
Two summer signings, both brought in from Le Havre, made their mark for the Irons in Sunday’s match. Thomas showed her goalscoring instinct and got off the mark in the WSL, while goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan also impressed with a confident showing.
The West Ham head coach was delighted with how both places performed in their respective English league debut.
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He continued: “Courtney has had a great pre-season. It was a tough choice between her and Anna, but Courtney has been fantastic in pre-season. Everything here is done on merit and she deserved to play today. I felt she equipped herself well. When she was under pressure, she remained calm, and that save she made in the second half was world-class.
“Martha deserved her goal and she’s going to be a handful for a lot of defenders. She can play in between the lines, pulls off the shoulder and she’s a very good finisher with both her head and her feet. I’m confident that we can cause a lot of team problems and score goals.
Although his team failed to take points against Arsenal, Beard can find plenty of positives from the efforts of his players and feels his team can take heart from their showing.
He added; “I said to the girls after the game that we lost because of the first half. If we had performed like the second half the whole way through, who knows?
“We could have shut down the first goal quicker and we showed them a bit too much respect. That was frustrating but we improved on it in the second half. We locked them in and created a lot of chances.
“We’ve got so many positives we can take from today and we can take that into the next game. We’ve created chances against the Champions of England and, if we do that every week, we’re going to be alright this year.”