Matt Beard believes there can be no room for error if his West Ham United team are to collect three points against Reading this weekend.
The Irons return to action at home to the Royals on Sunday in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and will be looking to claim a first victory of the season.
West Ham and Reading have met in big matches over the last two years and Beard knows just what to expect from Kelly Chambers’ side, and how difficult her team will make it for the Irons on Sunday.
“We have enjoyed some intense and memorable battles with the Royals over the past couple of years,” Beard said. “My mind immediately springs back to our first-ever FA WSL match, in which Reading were the visitors to Rush Green Stadium. And, of course, who can forget the FA Cup semi-final at Adams Park in April of last year?
We simply have to be at our very best and do everything right to get the win against Reading.
“Our matches have always been hard fought and fiercely contested and it has always been the case that the eventual winners in our matches together have had to leave everything out of the pitch to claim the result.
“It will be no different on Sunday. We simply have to be at our very best and do everything right to get the win.”
A disappointing defeat against Arsenal in the last match, three weeks ago, was a dampener on an otherwise exciting day for West Ham United, in what was the first game at the new matchday home at Dagenham & Redbridge Stadium.
While Beard acknowledges that Gilly Flaherty’s sending-off played a factor in the result, the head coach believes Sunday’s match is an opportunity for his team to bounce back and show off their quality.
He added: “While there were mitigating factors in the Arsenal match, such as Gilly’s sending-off in the first half, those sorts of results should not happen at this level.
“I spoke in the immediate aftermath of the game, where I said it was vitally important that we did not let that match define our entire season. Sunday is a chance for us to show just how much we mean that, and that we have come back from the international break even stronger.
“Not having a game since early September has allowed us the opportunity to continue tweaking things that perhaps we normally would not get the chance to during the season. The team has worked immensely hard during the last couple of weeks and everyone is looking forward to the Reading fixture.”