Matt Beard delighted with ‘important’ first league win
Matt Beard was delighted with the resolve and determination shown by his West Ham United side in claiming an ‘important’ first Barclays FA Women’s Super League victory of the season.
Emily van Egmond’s header in the second half secured a 2-1 win for the Hammers at Birmingham City. The home side had taken the lead early in the first-half through Claudia Walker’s finish, but the striker turned into her own net on the stroke of half-time, amidst pressure from the Irons, to level the match 1-1.
“It’s a tough place to come and Birmingham have been on a good run,” Beard said. “We were disappointed with the goal we conceded. Claudia was someone we had identified as being really good for them on the counter-attack.
“But I thought we showed a lot of character and responded well to the goal. We created a lot of chances and, once we’ve got in front, we’ve had to see the game out as well. We’ve seen a different side to the girls. We’ve created some good moments and it was important to get our first win in the league.
“We’re starting to get a little bit of consistency with our team selection. We’ve got almost everyone back fit, apart from Maz, and we’re starting to see relationships build on the pitch.”
We’ve seen a different side to the girls. We’ve created some good moments and it was important to get our first win in the league.
Van Egmond’s finish was her second in as many games, and her third of the season for West Ham, and Beard says the Australian international has settled into life in England really well.
The head coach is happy with how the midfielder is linking up with fellow summer signing Rachel Daly, with the Lionesses providing the assist for Van Egmond’s goal.
He continued: “We put Rachel at right-back today. It was something we’d spoken about and tried in training; with that deep delivery she can provide and then Emily has made a great third player run and got the finish. The pleasing thing is we’ve seen the game out and got that win.
“Emily is brilliant. She’s got a great attitude. She works hard on the training pitch and she glides across the pitch. You can see what she brings to the team, not just going forward but also defensively. We’re really pleased with how she’s settled in.”
With two wins from two matches in November, Beard has called on his team to see out the month with another pair of victories.
The Hammers will welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Dagenham & Redbridge Stadium next Sunday before playing Charlton Athletic in the final match of Group D in the Continental League Cup the following Wednesday.
Beard added: “Both of these games this week were must-win for us. We said, in November, that these are games that we feel we can win and we can use to kick-start our season.
“Hopefully, by the end of the month and as we enter the international break, we’ll have another three league points under our belts and we’ll be through in the Continental League Cup, and we can look back on this month as a turning point.”