Valiant Hammers beaten in thrilling Chelsea contest

Match report

Chelsea 3-2 West Ham United
Barclays FA Women’s Super League
Sunday 6 December 2020

A valiant West Ham United performance was not enough to overcome a Sam Kerr hat-trick, as the Irons fell to a 3-2 defeat away at reigning Barclays FA Women’s Super League champions Chelsea. 

The home side had taken the first-half lead through Kerr, but birthday girl Rachel Daly levelled the game just moments into the second half.

While the Irons more than deserved to be level, Kerr would strike twice to put the Blues in control. A late Magdalena Eriksson own-goal would reduce the deficit.

A compact West Ham United side started positively in the chilly December setting at Kingsmeadow. Martha Thomas saw an initial effort blocked in the box and, three minutes later, forced Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger into her first save of the afternoon.

For the Hammers’ very good opening to the match, it was Chelsea who took the lead on the quarter-of-an-hour mark. The Blues regained possession from the West Ham midfield and broke quickly, feeding the ball down the line. The cross game in and Kerr was there to slide the ball into the bottom corner. 

The away side had an amazing opportunity to level just moments later as birthday girl Rachel Daly was played through into a one-on-one situation. The forward tried to lift the ball over Berger, but the Chelsea shot-stopper did well to react and keep the effort out.

Mackenzie Arnold was called into action twice by shots from distance, from Melanie Leupolz and So-yun Ji respectively, before the Irons had the final chance of the first-half; So-hyun Cho’s shot on the turn going over the Chelsea bar.

Having been so positive in the first period, the Irons stunned the returning Chelsea fans inside Kingsmeadow less than two minutes after the restart, levelling the game. 

A wonderfully creative flick by Emily van Egmond set Adriana Leon away down the flank. The Canadian pulled the ball back and Daly, on her 29th birthday, tapped in her fourth West Ham goal.

Having worked so hard to get back into the game, it was frustrating for the away side to fall behind again on 55 minutes, with Australian Kerr firing Chelsea back in front with a powerful effort. 

The Blues winger completed her hat-trick on 68 minutes. Fran Kirby’s cut-back left Kerr with little to do but stab in her third from close-range.

West Ham did not stop battling and, with just two minutes left of normal time, Alisha Lehmann's cross was turned into her own net by Eriksson, giving the Hammers a second and hope of a reward for their efforts. 

However, Chelsea held on, taking the win in an entertaining outing, despite West Ham’s gallantry. 

Chelsea: Berger; Thorisdottir (Bright 58), Leupolz, England (Reiten 67), Ji (Ingle 67), Kirby, Eriksson (c), Mjelde, Kerr (Cuthbert 71), Harder, Andersson
Subs not used: Telford, Carter, Fleming, Charles
Goals: Kerr 15, 55, 68

West Ham United: Arnold, Redisch, Flaherty (c), Fisk, Vetterlein, Cho, Longhurst (Grant 59), Van Egmond, Daly, Thomas (Lehmann 82), Leon (Svitkova 71)
Subs not used: Brosnan, Joel, Cissoko, Dali, Kiszkis, Nor 
Goals: Daly 47, Eriksson (OG) 88