Gilly Flaherty: West Ham Women can come away with something
West Ham United Women’s Captain, Gilly Flaherty says that there’s no reason why her team can’t come away with something from this weekend’s final Barclays FA Women’s Super League match of the season against Manchester City.
The Citizens will be hoping to not drop points as they pursue Chelsea for the title on the final day of the campaign, but Flaherty is optimistic about West Ham’s chances going into the game at Victoria Road, because of the improved performance levels seen against the big teams in previous weeks.
“We need to take the positives that we’ve had, which is our performances over the last two months and how tough we’ve been to break down, then there’s no reason why we can’t come away with something out of these two games against Manchester City.
“We’ve had good performances against teams in and around the top of the table without picking up points, so there is some encouragement there and it’s about taking the next step and picking up at least a point in this match to end the season.”
The Hammers have faced off against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal in the last two months, losing by a 2-goal score-line in each fixture.
Harder has brought a solidness to the east Londoners, who have kept five clean sheets in their last six matches in all competitions, but the New Zealander and the skipper were left frustrated that they couldn’t score that the other end last weekend against Aston Villa.
“In the last six weeks or so we’ve really prided ourselves on being hard to break down and keeping clean sheets, and I think even if you look at the Arsenal game then they didn’t tear us apart and didn’t have loads of chances, they were just clinical with the few that they had.
“We had everything in the game against Villa except from finding the back of the net, which I think is the story of our season. We could have been there until midnight and we still wouldn’t have scored, it was just one of the days in front of goal. It’s frustrating because we knew that if we got one then we would go on to win the game because of the chances that we were creating,” she said.
The defender also took time to reflect on a tough season – with her team all but safe going into the final league match.
“In all honesty this has been my most difficult season to date. I’ve never experienced a relegation fight before in my career, and it probably took me around six to eight weeks to realise and get my head around the situation that we were in.
“The club doesn’t deserve to be in this position, the players that we have, the size of the club and the facilities that we have are fantastic. We’re not a Championship team on paper, we’re a WSL side, but sometimes in football it doesn’t work like that.
"We’ve dropped a lot of points this season, and if we had those now then we would have been safe a long time ago. Like I said, this season has been a big learning curve for everybody connected with the football club.”
With the season drawing to a close, Flaherty is looking forward to the return of fans to the stadium next season. The Hammers haven’t won a home match during the current campaign – and the skipper hopes that their fortunes will improve once supporters return.
“I think you can tell that we’ve really missed the fans. At games last season at Rush Green, they were the difference in us picking up late points in matches. They’re always so supportive and vocal and I know that they’ve missed watching us play.
“The support over social media has been good, but we can’t wait to have them cheering us on against next season,” she said.
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