First game of the season and it’s London rivals Tottenham and West Ham who take enter stage. Tottenham are three for three in all meetings with hammers. Something that the East London club are looking to overturn. Both teams have strengthened significantly this season, so it’s hard to predict who would come out on top. Both sides debuting their new signings and such a restructuring means that you can’t really use last seasons results as a precedent.
Early on West Ham’s Young defender Maz Pacheco went in for a bone crunching tackle on former Hammer Ria Percival. Pacheco showing that she has already learnt the West Ham way. Get stuck in and kick them in shins. Maz in the first 10 mins also took a very cheeky foul throw which was gratefully ignored by the ref.
However it was Spurs who grew into the game first, with Lucy Quinn having her first shot saved by Mackenzie Arnold and the second just wide. This was quickly followed up by Wunderkind Kit Graham who managed to hit the bar twice within the space of 3 mins. It seemed to be all Tottenham with West Ham floundering under the North London pressure. Further shots by Quinn, Graham and Addison deftly saved by Arnold showing her skill under pressure. Spurs did not let up, pressing high up the field stopping West Ham from playing their preferred style of playing short and from the back.
20 mins later the Hammers managed to force a break in play with a free kick on the edge of the area. Dali shooting just wide with a sweet right footed strike but gave West Ham the pep they were missing. A flurry of possession by Clarets lead to more link up play between the defenders and midfield. This allowing Leon to cut through the Tottenham like butter but couldn’t quite finish. A goal was definitely in the air and it was too close to call which team would break the deadlock. Five minutes before the the break West Ham were denied a penalty opportunity much to the continued frustration of the Hammers. Just before the half time whistle the frustrations boiled over with another Pacheco Percival duel which lead to a yellow card for the impulsive young defender in claret and blue. To be fair it was probably a culmination of multiple infractions that the referee could no longer ignore. The first 45 mins ended in 0-0.
Second half started with a change for the Hammers with Rachel Daly being subbed on. Much hyped signing by West Ham. Matt beard clearly hoping for an instantaneous impact from the Houston Dash MVP. Once again West Ham started sluggish and Tottenham we’re ready to pounce. After multiple shots on target for Spurs, they won a corner thanks the Mackenzie Arnold gargantuan save. Confusion seemed to hit the players in the box and Fisk managed to head the ball passed her own keepers outstretched hands. One nil to Spurs through an own goal. West Ham quickly changing the narrative. Off came Cho who had been having issues on the wing for new signing Emily van Egmond. It is in this humble reporters opinion that West Ham’ reaction to the goal shows the growth the East London club has made. Four minutes after the mishap of the home sides goal, a beautiful ball flanked down to Leon. Carving through the Tottenham’s defence with a beautiful curling shot. Becky Spencer couldn’t get a glove to it. 1-1 in the London Derby.
The rest of the match became a game of battle ping pong with the football going end to end. Spurs started to show desperation at losing the lead so quickly. Once again with a change in personal bringing on Gemma Davison looked like the fates were going to swing in their favour. No one however could just make that connection between the players and goal. On the last grasp of the dying seconds it was the Clarets who just missed out on the win. New youngster Ruby Grant locked on to a Rachel Daly pass, heading the ball wide.
So that’s how it ended 1-1 both teams ruing the lost opportunity to take all three points.
Player of the match Maz Pacheco