Izzy Atkinson was the difference-maker for West Ham United Women in their 1-0 victory over Leicester City, and she could not hide her joy at the full-time whistle.
The 21-year-old Republic of Ireland international was introduced off the bench by manager Paul Konchesky on 63 minutes, as he and his team looked to try and find a way to win a tightly-contested match.
And once Viviane Asseyi had played the ball forward to the winger with just two minutes of the 90 to play, Atkinson did the rest, gliding beyond two defenders and slotting the ball past Demi Lambourne in the Leicester goal with her left foot to win the game.
It was the first landmark moment of Atkinson’s West Ham career, having arrived from Celtic this past summer, and she was pleased to get off the mark for her new team.
“I’m on cloud nine to be honest, it’s one of the best feelings in the world,” she told West Ham TV. “It’s just amazing to be able to score my first goal for the Club and I’m delighted that it was the winning goal and that we’ve got the three points.”
For such a young player, Atkinson took her goal well and with plenty of composure. There was still a lot to do when she received the ball from Asseyi on the edge of the penalty area, but she made it look easy.
She recalled: “I took a touch on my right, and I remember thinking ‘Oh, I should have shot a bit quicker’, but somehow I was able to skip by the two defenders and score, so I’m happy that I did that.
“When I scored, at first it was just a scream and then I started to relax a little and everyone came round to hug me.
“I’m glad that I was able to make an impact off the bench, hopefully I’m not always coming on and I can start some league matches but I know that it will come with time. Hopefully I have given the manager something to think about heading into the game next week.”
As calm as you like! 🔥pic.twitter.com/AisWBE0n71— West Ham United Women (@westhamwomen) November 20, 2022
That game comes at home to Birmingham City in the Continental Tyres League Cup – with Atkinson and company taking on the Blues at Chigwell Construction Stadium on Sunday 27 November at 3pm.
And Atkinson is hoping that the team can take the momentum from their WSL victory over the Foxes and produce a strong performance in the cup.
She concluded: “I think it’s a huge win for our confidence, we had to dig deep and we worked incredibly hard to get the three points. It’s always nice to get a clean sheet as well so we have that to build on.”