West Ham United 0-1 Reading
Barclays FA Women’s Super League
Dagenham & Redbridge Stadium
Sunday 4 October 2020
West Ham United were beaten 1-0 by Reading on a disappointing Sunday afternoon for Matt Beard’s side.
A first half strike from Lauren Bruton was enough to seal the points for the visitors at a rain-soaked Chigwell Construction Stadium.
The Hammers were left to rue missed opportunities, with Kenza Dali failing to convert from the penalty spot in the second half.
The defeat leaves West Ham 9th in the Barclays Women’s Super League after just three rounds of fixtures.
Summer signing Emily Van Edgmond made her first start for West Ham United, whilst Kate Longhurst also returned to the starting line-up for the first time this campaign.
It was the Hammers started the game in the ascendancy and forced the first opening after just three minutes.
Dali was released down the right-hand side and a slick passing move resulted in Rachel Daly finding the advancing Maz Pacheco on the corner of the box. With time and space, the left back could only fire high and wide against her former club.
The French International had further joy down the same side just moments later, skipping past Molly Bartrip, the deputising captain squared the ball back to the onrushing Longhurst. The experienced midfielder failed to trouble Grace Moloney in the Reading goal.
Not long after, West Ham goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was called into action for the first time, a looping cross from Bartrip threatened to fall under the crossbar, but the Australian stopper tipped the ball over well under pressure.
Sporting their Pink Kit – in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness – Matt Beard’s side struggled to turn their possession into further early chances. The Hammers enjoyed some good spells of possession despite the adverse weather conditions.
West Ham were made to pay for their missed opportunities as Reading took the lead just before the half hour mark. Natasha Harding was allowed too much time to get her cross in from the right and Lauren Bruton was on-hand to volley the visitors ahead from close-range.
The Hammers looked to find an immediate response before the break, but nearly found themselves further behind. A jinking run from Amalie Eikland past saw her past Cecile Redisch-Kvamme, the Norwegian’s cross flashed past the West Ham goal with Danielle Carter unable to apply the finish.
The visitors continued to pile on the pressure as the first half drew to a close and the women in Claret and Blue showed good resolve to get in at half-time just a goal behind.
Matt Beard would have wanted to see more quality in the final third from his team in the second half and after the restart he got just that.
A teasing ball from the right-hand side from Redisch-Kvamme evaded the Reading defence and found Adriana Leon just eight yards out. The Canadian swivelled and drove the ball towards the bottom left corner, Moloney however, was equal to it and tipped the ball onto post with a spectacular save before the Royals bundled clear.
Matt Beard urged his team forward on the side-lines as the openings began to appear in the second period. Leon drove at right hand side of the Reading defence and despite being forced wide; the forward unleashed a stinging effort goalward that Maloney was once again on-hand to tip over.
The keeper’s involvement was not finished there. Daly reacted quickest to a lofted free kick into the Reading box, the summer arrival nudged the ball beyond the goalkeeper who clumsily brought the England International down and the referee pointed to the spot.
Dali stepped up for the Hammers, striking the ball low towards the bottom right but Moloney managed to atone for her earlier error, saving well as she continued to thwart the hosts at every opportunity.
Reading remained a threat on the counter, Carter’s effort from distance forced a sprawling save from Arnold, who was largely quiet in the second period.
In the closing stages despite all of West Ham’s endeavours it began to look like it wasn’t to be their day.
Dali, Van Edgmond and Daly worked tirelessly to try and level the contest, yet the Royals defence stood firm to see out the victory.
West Ham United: Arnold; Redisch (Nor 76’), Fisk, Cho, Pacheco; Van Egmond, Longhurst (Grant 69’), Dali ©; Lehmann (Kiernan 55’), Daly, Leon
Subs not used: Brosnan, Dunbar, Cruickshank, Joel
Reading: Moloney; Harding, Cooper, Bartrip, Mitchell; James, Williams (Chaplen 16’), Fishlock; Eikland (Harries 79’); Bruton (Rowe 68’), Carter (Ga-uel 79’)
Subs not used: Nayler, Leine, Woodham, Skeels, Roberts
Goals: Bruton 26’