Being a West Ham fan is currently quite painful. On paper, we have one of the best squads in the league, however, something has not quick gelling. With a draw and two losses under our belt, it was going a tough match against title-chasers Everton. Here’s hoping we don’t get in a sticky situation with the Toffees (see what I did there? 😉).
Neither team played each other last year due to two different medical emergency’s, with the January fixture cancelled due to flu and the return fixture cancelled by you know what. I am refusing to write ‘the C word now.’ So new ground, new teams, let’s do this.
In what started as a miserable looking day as expected the team from Merseyside were on top with West Ham looking quite sluggish. A hangover from the midweek Conti Cup fixture which went down to penalties against Brighton. Everton also had a point to prove and would want to get back to their winning ways after a Conti cup defeat to Manchester City. Same sloppy mistakes and fouls from the Reading game making for frustrating viewing. New signing, Claire Emslie, singing down the wing unlucky not to be on the scoresheet within the first three minutes of the game.
The inevitable goal coming 8 minutes on with Emslie being the one to punish us a whip of a cross on the left to Sørensen who drilled it home in the right hand corner. From then on it was all Everton. The midfield combination of Christiansen, Emslie and Sørensen out running, out passing and outpacing our midfield. The constant battering of our defenders who were letting the Everton strikers far too near our goal. Mackenzie Arnold had to do some acrobatics to keep the scoreline flattering.
It was then against the run of play that West Ham got their shot. A slow kick from Everton’s goalkeeper was aimed at their midfield however this was cleverly intercepted by Redisch Kvamme who pinged it up the right flank. This was picked up by Kenza Dali and slotted it home with a slow strike into the bottom left hand corner. The first goal Everton had conceded this league campaign. Suddenly the game was afoot and the Hammers seemed to find their grove, turning the tide of pressure. It was Everton who were wrong-footed and could keep up with our midfield of Daly, Dali and Leon. Just before the half time whistle Adriana Leon went on an amazing solo run which would have given West Ham the lead. Her shot was just painfully wide.
Faith is five letter word that all West Ham fans were not used to feeling at the start of the second half. Dread was the fiver letter all West Ham fans know all too well.
We started so well, so brightly the goal gave West Ham such boost.
Rachel Daly showcasing her pedigree by running circles around the Everton defence. Again her shot just agonisingly wide. Followed by a corner kick which almost saw Emily van Egmond get her first goal in a claret and blue shirt. The confident Merseyside team we had seen in their first three games were slowly crumbling. West Ham had the fight to nick all three points here. Everything seemed to click into place and finally, West Ham were showing the promise they had in the Spurs game.
However, this appears to have made them a little complacent and Everton seemed to sense it in the air. Valérie Gauvin firing a rocket beyond Mackenzie Arnold grasp however a collective sigh of relief was palpable when the linesman’s flag was raised. The writing was on the wall though and through some clever substitutions Everton regained their momentum.
Lucy Graham who has been having the season of her career even though we are only four games in added to her tally. An absolute powerhouse of a volley hitting the top right corner. The Toffees restoring their lead. Then to add salt to the wound, Graham added a second with a low ball to the bottom right-hand corner to all but confirm the three points for the home side.
As a West Ham fan, I saw a glimmer of the promise the team has on paper but the fluidity is still not there. As we have fallen to the worst position we have been in the league. We need to fix whatever it is and sharpish.
Player of the Match Rachel Daly for the Hammers. Claire Emslie for the Toffees.