West Ham Women rise to sixth in WSL table after win at the Madejski Stadium over Reading 1-2.
Yui Hasegawa is composure personified. The Japanese midfielder was the outstanding player on the pitch on Sunday as West Ham recorded a well-deserved win over Reading. Her goal in the 86th minute was trademark Hasegawa. She only needed two touches, shifting the ball one way then the other to jink past the panicked Reading defenders before firing her shot past the helpless goalkeeper.
West Ham’s display, particularly in the first half, was arguably their best performance since the turn of the year. The Hammers played with authority and intent, repeatedly slicing through the Reading defence. Only their own wayward finishing prevented them from registering a more comprehensive victory.
Emma Snerle put the Hammers ahead just after half time before Hasegawa’s goal extended the lead late on. Reading did get one back in the fifth minute of injury time when Faye Bryson’s effort deflected past Mackenzie Arnold in the West Ham goal.
West Ham Manager, Olli Harder, said he was delighted with his player’s ability to put the after FA Cup semi-final defeat last weekend behind them when he spoke to whufc.com after the final whistle.
"“The team showed resilience again today, we had to bounce back after the disappointment of losing the semi-final. They got back out there, played with control and showed great character as a group to get the victory.”"
West Ham were without Anna Leat, Lucy Parker and skipper Gilly Flaherty for the trip to Reading. Kate Longhurst was named captain in Flaherty’s absence as the childhood West Ham fan made her 100th appearance for the club.
Harder’s team had the ball in the back of the net after just eight minutes, but Dagny Brynjarsdottir’s goal was ruled out for offside. The referee’s assistant raised the offside flag when Brynjarsdottir followed up on a good save from Grace Maloney.
Zaneta Wyne went close for The Hammers after some great work on the left wing from Katerina Svitkova. Wyne stretched to meet Svitkova’s cross at the back post but was unable to direct her effort on target.
Lisa Evans’ glancing header from Adriana Leon’s cross hit the top of the crossbar just minutes later.
Leon really should have put West Ham ahead in the 32nd minute after being put through one-on-one with the Reading goalkeeper. Her effort was too close to Maloney who pulled off a good save to keep the scores level.
Reading had their first sight of goal just before half time after Woodham showed quick feet to work herself some space in the penalty area. Arnold did well to keep Woodham’s shot out at the near post.
West Ham did get themselves in front shortly after the second half kicked off when Snerle scored her first goal for the club. Hasegawa created the opening when she broke forward from midfield and rolled the ball into Snerle’s path. The Danish midfielder took one touch to set herself before curling the ball into the top corner.
Olli Harder’s team struggled to create the same number of chances they had managed in the first 45 minutes. However, they were able to control large portions of the second half as they looked for the goal that would seal all three points.
West Ham did find a second goal late on when Hasegawa showed brilliant composure in the Reading penalty area after receiving the ball from Evans. The Japanese midfielder left two Reading defenders in her wake before drilling an effort past Maloney.
Reading did breach the West Ham defence in the late on when Bryson’s shot deflected past Arnold.
Bryson’s goal was a case of too little too late for the Royals as West Ham won their first league match since the away win at Birmingham City on the 13th of March.
The Hammers play away from home again next weekend as they face a Manchester United team that is battling to qualify for the Champions League next season.