West Ham Women beaten by Manchester City
West Ham United impressed once again on the final day of the 2020/21 season, but couldn't stop Manchester City running out 5-1 winners at the Academy Stadium.
Ellen White opened the scoring for the home side, but Anouk Denton pulled the Hammers back level only a minute later.
Janine Beckie then put the Citizens back in front before the break - but the east Londoners responded, striking the woodwork on three occasions.
Rose Lavelle extended City's advantage before goals from Sam Mewis and Lauren Hemp in injury time put the home side out of sight.
Olli Harder welcome back Emily van Egmond into the starting XI in the only change from last weekend’s league match between the two teams, with the Australian midfielder replacing Maisy Barker – who dropped to the bench.
The game was barely four minutes old when West Ham United should have taken the lead at the Academy Stadium. A good move resulted with Anouk Denton’s strike being deflected into the face of City ‘keeper – Karima Benameur Taieb. Maz Pacheco then had an effort denied by the French goalkeeper.
The Cityzens responded with a chance of their own – Lauren Hemp raced away from the Irons back-line, but the winger could only fire over the crossbar.
Gareth Taylor’s team took the lead with 15 minutes on the clock, with Ellen White stabbing the ball home from close range.
But the lead was short-lived, as Hawa Cissoko whipped in a wonderful ball to the back post, that Anouk Denton headed home to bring the score level only a minute after the home side had taken the lead.
And the Hammers almost grabbed their second – Dagny Brynjarsdottir ghosted in behind the City defence, but her headed effort was comfortable for Taieb.
In an end-to-end contest, Janine Beckie spurned a fantastic chance at the back post, with the Canadian winger unable to add the finishing tough to a Lauren Hemp cross.
Harder’s team were a constant threat on the counterattack – specifically with balls over the top. Kenza Dali raced in behind with 28 minutes gone, but the pullback couldn’t find a teammate in pink.
Beckie was causing problems for the Irons, but she couldn’t find her aim – the 26-year-old fired another effort over the crossbar after a mistake from van Egmond in midfield.
More good play from the home side followed, as they worked the ball well down the left-hand side. Hemp fired in a cross that was met by her opposite winger, Beckie – who finally opened her account for the afternoon and put her team back in front in the contest.
More menacing crosses from Hemp followed, but Laura Vetterlein was on hand to deny White in the middle, as the Hammers went in a goal behind at the break.
Leanne Kiernan was introduced at half time, with Brynjarsdottir making way for the Irish forward.
Mackenzie Arnold had to be alert to deny Caroline Weir, who had capitalised on a misplaced pass by the Hammers at the beginning of the second period.
Denton had the opportunity to score her second of the afternoon, but she couldn’t keep her effort down – a let off for the home side.
The Hammers were in the ascendancy, and with 60 minutes gone, Kiernan was next to try and level the scoring. He dinked effort rattled the crossbar – before being taken out when the ball bounced back to the forward. The referee was unmoved and play continued.
Dali was next to try her luck – the French international smashed an effort towards goal, but Taieb was equal to it.
The pressure from Harder’s side continued, but the crossbar and goalkeeper continued to come to Manchester City’s rescue. Kate Longhurst was first denied by Taieb – then Grace Fisk hooked the ball onto the upright.
Maz Pacheco was next to have a go, hitting the target with her weaker right-foot, but Taieb was equal to it.
City had been second best throughout the half, but they extended their lead on 74 minutes – Rose Lavelle raced in behind the Hammers defence, slotting the ball beyond Arnold.
There was a brief stoppage in play as Vetterlein received treatment after clashing heads inside her own penalty area.
Sam Mewis rounded off the game for the home side - smashing the ball home from close range in added time.
The Irons ran out of steam in the closing stages - as Lauren Hemp was able to smash in another before the referee blew for full-time.
West Ham United: Arnold, Cissoko, Flaherty, Fisk, Vetterlein, Pacheco, van Egmond, Denton, Longhurst, Brynjarsdottir (Kiernan 46) (Barker 82), Dali (Mustafa 90).
Goals: Denton 16
Manchester City: Taieb, Bronze, Morgan, Greenwood, Stanway, Walsh, Coombs (Mewis 65), Weir, Beckie (Lavelle 58), Hemp, White.
Subs: Keating, Davies, Dahlkemper, Park.
Goals: White 15, Beckie 39, Lavelle 74, Mewis 90+, Hemp 90+
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