West Ham Women bow out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage following defeat at the hands of Manchester City
Another match against Manchester City, another comprehensive defeat. However, West Ham Manager, Olli Harder, will know that the story of this match can’t be found in the scoreline. invoke the ‘West Ham spirit’ in the build-up to this semi-final clash, Harder will take heart from the fight his players showed throughout this game.
It must be said that it takes more than heart to compete against teams of Manchester City’s ability. West Ham struggled to match the individual quality that runs through Gareth Taylor’s team. Lauren Hemp personified the difference between the two teams in this match. Hemp was decisive and emphatic where West Ham were tentative and hesitant.
A high intensity first half ended with the visitors leading by two goals to one. City then controlled large portions of the second 45 minutes before two late goals condemned West Ham to a more comprehensive-looking defeat than their performance perhaps deserved.
The first goal of the game arrived in the 21st minute. White reacted fastest to nod the ball into the net after Keira Walsh’s shot rebounded off the crossbar. Gilly Flaherty was at fault for the visitor’s second when her pass across her own goal was intercepted by Chloe Kelly who finished past Mackenzie Arnold. Lisa Evans got one goal back for the Hammers shortly before half-time.
West Ham seemed to tire as the match wore on, leaving more and more space in which City attackers could operate. Lauren Hemp took full advantage as she scored two high quality goals to send her team through to an FA Cup final showdown with Chelsea in May.
Harder made one change to the team that lost to Manchester City in the league just before the international break as Katerina Svitkova returned from injury, replacing Hawa Cissoko in the starting 11.
There were three changes to the City side as Laura Coombs, Chloe Kelly and White started the match in place of Georgia Stanway, Bunny Shaw and Hayley Raso.
In clear contrast to their league defeat against the same team two weeks ago, West Ham showed a clear intent to put pressure on the City defence in the early stages of the match.
West Ham had their first sight of goal in the 13th minute. A rapid counterattack involving several West Ham players eventually saw the ball fall to Dagny Brynjarsdottir in the City penalty area. The Norwegian international saw her attempt shot saved by Ellie Roebuck.
The visitors got themselves in front after 21 minutes after Keira Walsh’s effort from around 25 yards bounced off the West Ham crossbar. White reacted fastest as she headed the ball into an empty net.
The Hammers only had themselves to blame when City doubled their lead 15 minutes later. Flaherty’s loose pass across the West Ham penalty box was pounced upon by Kelly who made no mistake with her finish past Mackenzie Arnold.
Lisa Evans showed great composure to halve the deficit just before half time. Evans won the ball in midfield before playing a one-two with Adriana Leon to get herself in behind the visitor’s defence. The Arsenal loanee then touched the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper before rolling the ball past a covering City defender and into the goal.
The chances kept coming for Harder’s team in the second half. Evans was involved again as she played a perfectly weighted through ball to find Tameka Yallop’s run. The Australian was unable to produce a shot at goal before Lucy Bronze’s covering tackle prevented Yallop from drawing her side level.
Lauren Hemp’s goal put the result beyond doubt in the 67th minute. Hemp turned away from Lucy Parker before driving into the box and firing a shot across goal into the far corner of Arnold’s goal.
Subsititute Filippa Angeldahl almost got herself on the scoresheet when she was found in space in the West Ham box following Hemp’s cutback. Angeldahl’s shot was well-saved by Arnold who tipped the midfielder’s shot onto the crossbar.
City did get their fourth in second half stoppage time when Hemp scored her second of the game with an impressive finish.
Gareth Taylor’s side will play Chelsea on the 15th of May in what is a repeat of the League Cup final that the Citizens won 3-1 in March.
The Hammers have now lost their last three matches in all competitions. Harder’s team travel to the Madejski Stadium next Sunday as they take on Reading in the WSL.