Saturday’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League match was a special one for West Ham United women’s captain Gilly Flaherty.
While the Irons fell to defeat at the hands of Manchester City at the Chigwell Construction Stadium, the skipper claimed a historic milestone as she became the first-ever female footballer to claim 100 competitive appearances for the Club.
The centre-back, whose special occasion was marked before kick-off with a presentation in front of the home supporters, could not contain her delight at writing her name into the record books.
“It means a lot to hit 100 appearances,” Flaherty told West Ham TV. “It means so much. I’ve been here four years and the Club means so much to me. I’ve been part of this team we first joined the Barclays FA WSL so it’s very special. I’ve also been captain during that time as well, so I’m very fortunate.
“It was massive to share today with the fans. I’m grateful to the Club for allowing me to do that. The fans have been a bit part of my time here and they’ve accepted me as one of their own. It’s been so nice.
“I had my dad and my partner in the stands as well. For my dad, it was special as well, because he’s been there from the very first game. It was so special to share with them, and our fans.
“Hitting 100 appearances is something that I will look back on when I eventually retire and realise what a massive milestone it is for me and this Club. For me to write my name into the history books for a Club that means a lot to me is special, and I hope it continues.”
The Hammers may not have taken anything from Saturday’s game as goals in each half from Georgia Stanway and Khadija Shaw respectively secured the win for Manchester City, but Flaherty noted that the Irons could take positiives in the display.
She continued: “We can take so many positives from this game. The two goals we conceded were our mistakes; we gave away the ball for the first one and we didn’t pick up the player for the second one, but we can take huge positives from it.
“We created chances. Adriana Leon was unlucky not to get a goal in the first half with her header. Then we had the offside goal in the second half. But we looked dangerous when we attacked and there were times when they overplayed a bit and we won it back. We’ve just got to be more clinical in those dangerous areas, and we make sure we take our chances.”
West Ham’s next test will once again face Manchester City at the Chigwell Construction Stadium when Gareth Taylor’s side visit in the FA Cup semi-final.
Flaherty is excited for the opportunity to reach another FA Cup final with the Hammers.
“We’ve got quite a lot of girls away during the international break and, for those of us who stay back, it’s about us working on our own individual things.
“We need to make sure we stay switched on and it’s about getting done what we need to get done, and staying fit and healthy for the semi-final.”