West Ham United Women were left to rue a number of a defensive mistakes on Sunday afternoon as they were beaten 4-2 by Manchester United Women.
A slow start saw the Hammers fall two behind after just 23 minutes, and despite rallying twice to cut the deficit to a single goal, they never managed to get back on terms.
On an otherwise difficult afternoon, Matt Beard’s side had a number of positives to take from the contest; the return of Martha Thomas and Laura Vetterlein from injury, a show of tremendous character to get back into the game on two occasions and the debut of Lois Joel - to name but a few.
The 21-year-old defender was a second-half substitute for the aforementioned Vetterlein and put in a composed display in the closing stages.
“I was buzzing to get on,” Joel smiled. “I’ve been working hard in training to stay ready in case I was called into the side.”
The summer recruit from the University of North Carolina was pleased with the Hammers application in the defeat.
“Obviously, it’s a really difficult loss for us. I think we showed grit and determination at times and it’s just about fine-tuning the small things and we'll begin to get results.”
It’s exciting to play against and with such massive players. Rachel (Daly) and Emily (Van Egmond) and all the other Aussies have been really welcoming to me, it’s getting the chance to learn from the best and try and put that into my game.
The Irons now have a fortnight until the visit of Reading Women in the next round of the Continental Tyres Cup, and Joel expects the squad to make the most of their time on the training pitch.
“We’ve got to go away and watch the goals from today and stay together as a team. I think some of the main things that we have to work-on are the set pieces and some of the basic organisational skills.
I don’t think we’re being played through, it’s just the little things that we have to get right.”
Joining a dressing room that’s full of International players and playing in a league that’s burgeoning with talent was a huge factor in Joel making the move across the Atlantic.
“It’s exciting to play against and with such massive players. Rachel (Daly) and Emily (Van Egmond) and all the other Aussies have been really welcoming to me, it’s getting the chance to learn from the best and try and put that into my game.”
With a busy November-December period approaching the youngster has her eye on making further appearances in Claret & Blue.
“I love it here; I just want to keep trying to steal minutes where I can. I want to perform when Matt (Beard) gives me the chances and just try and help the team in any way possible whether that’s on the field or off the field.”