Martha Thomas: It’s great to be back, but we need to do better
Sunday was a case of mixed emotions for Martha Thomas after making her return from injury in West Ham United’s 4-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester United.
The Scotland international made her first showing of the season – and her first match in any competition since March – in the Barclays’s FA Women’s Super League clash between the Irons and Red Devils, coming straight into the starting XI for Matt Beard’s side.
Thomas was thrilled to be back in action for the Irons, playing the first hour at Dagenham & Redbridge Stadium, but was disappointed to lose the game.
“It seems like it’s been a long spell out for me – about nine or ten weeks – which has been really disappointing,” Thomas told West Ham TV. “But I’ve worked really hard on and off the pitch, and I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the medical staff for getting me fit and coming back as strong as I did.
“You’re talking about not playing a game since March, so it’s been a long time. To go in against Manchester United, who have done really well this season, it was definitely a tough game.
“But personally, I'm happy to come back, get a run out, get some touches on the ball and feel okay throughout it.”
Thomas was a part of the Hammers side that beat Manchester United 3-2 last season and the striker was hoping to play a role in a similar result on Sunday, saying the Irons wanted to claim a big win to kick-start their campaign.
There were long periods that the home side looked strong, with Emily van Egmond scoring her first goal for the Club with a well-placed header, while Rachel Daly’s exquisite lob in the second half was a worthy second for the side.
The No9 believes there are areas for the team to improve across the pitch, but there are plenty of positives for the Hammers to take too.
The frustrating thing for us is we’ve had such good spells in every game. It’s just keeping that consistency for 90 minutes and taking the chances when we have them
She continued: “Winning that game against them last campaign kicked on our season and was a big turning point for us, and we wanted that to happen again. We haven’t had the best start to the season, so we really wanted to try and use this to kick on, but unfortunately it didn’t go our way.
“The frustrating thing for us is we’ve had such good spells in every game. It’s just keeping that consistency for 90 minutes and taking the chances when we have them. We did create good chances against Manchester United that we could have put away.
“As a whole eleven, we need to do better when it comes to conceding goals. When we’re conceding four goals, we’re not going to win games, so we need to do better with that from the top and all the way back.
“But we did show character in coming back during the game. There are just a few things to clean up on, and hopefully we can kick on.”
Thomas will now meet up with her Scotland teammates for the October international break, where she will be hoping to gain more minutes and regain further fitness, before returning to east London to help her club teammates in the Barclays FA WSL.
“It’s been a long time. The last game I played before this one was with Scotland, so it will be good to meet back up and get a Euro qualifier under my belt too,” she added. “I want to get more minutes in the legs and kick-on from here. I just want to play every weekend and contribute in every way I can.”