There were fireworks at Dagenham & Redbridge Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Literally. As England prepared to enter national lockdown at the stroke of midnight, local families marked Guy Fawkes Night 24 hours early around Dagenham with a stream of vivid, bright and sensational rockets into the night sky.
They were not the only dazzling performances on show in the area however, as West Ham United women’s team brought metaphorical fireworks to the Victoria Road pitch in a 3-0 win over Reading.
Three goals, all scored by different goalscorers. A hat-trick of assists for Martha Thomas. A penalty saved by Mackenzie Arnold. It was a perfect evening, according to the scorer of the Hammers’ first goal, Alisha Lehmann.
The Swiss international was on hand to gratefully tap in her first of the season from Thomas’ first cut-back of the game, and the No7 was thrilled with her finish and the team’s outing.
It doesn't get much better! We scored three goals and we won, so it was a good evening.
“It doesn’t get much better,” Lehmann told West Ham TV. “We scored three goals and we won, so it was a good evening.
“I think I had a big backpack on my back, with not scoring, but I can throw that away now I’ve got my first goal! I’m very happy!”
Lehmann reserved praise for fellow attacker Thomas after the No9’s blistering efforts, as well as the defensive line, who kept the team’s first clean-sheet of the campaign.
She continued: “You can see that Martha is such a good player. She’s not only a goalscorer but she gives assists too, and I’m really happy to play with her.
“I think all the defence played so well as well, and I’m really proud of them. Everyone played so well, and we’re really happy to get the three points.”
Having picked up a win that puts West Ham in control of Group D in the Continental League Cup, Lehmann is hopeful the Hammers can take the momentum and efforts in Sunday’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League clash with Birmingham City.
“I think, because we didn’t have the best start, this performance and this win was very important. I hope we can get a step higher now and take this into the game on Sunday.
“I just want to play a good season with West Ham and improve with the team!”