Match Report: West Ham United 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

We come to the close of Women’s Football Weekend. After four matches yesterday a slower-paced finale and West Ham take on Brighton. West Ham have a good record against Brighton but this is 2020, so this means nothing.

As proved by the free-kick given against West Ham within the first moments of the games. A rash challenge from the West Ham defence. Luckily this is dealt with quickly by Mackenzie Arnold. Brighton however came back very quickly with a long range shot from Jarrett which was wide. A wake-up call for the Aussie goalkeeper.  Just a quickly Vetterlein caught the ball on the break and fire a shot at pace outside the box. Again it was a wide but a warning to Brighton the Hammers meant business.

It seemed to be West Ham’s game from then on in. Constant pressure from the home side with by some slick passing between Leon, Daly and Thomas. Also playing from the back seemed to working for once with a great ball from captain Flaherty. It seemed to skim Thomas who couldn’t quite bring it down to control it and went out for a Brighton goal kick.

However it was not all going West Ham’s way and great shot plus a mix up from a corner almost lead to the deadlock break. Thankfully Mackenzie Arnold managed to smother the ball and the danger from the girls in Yellow. It was at this point the game became frantic and end to end and it was West Ham who tried to hammer the next blow. Emily Van Egmond hard strike almost made it in. But their young keeper swept it out before she could get the finish on it.

Then it started getting scrappy and desperate and the challenges started to become rash with Martha Thomas the target. The resulting free-kick was a great ball in by Rachel Daly but unfortunately nothing could be done with it and it went out again for another goal kick. The battle of this match was being played out in midfield with both sides being able to deliver great service to their strikers. Cho for West Ham played the ball beautiful with a string of passes dodged the Brighton defence.

By the last ten minutes of the first half West Ham had taken the game by the scruff of the neck but their final touch was lacking. Multiple attempts by Leon, Van Egmond and Thomas were either just wide, saved or skyed over the bar.  Nothing was connecting for the Hammers. The same could be said for the seagulls who few attempts on goal just couldn’t find the target. However was there a heavy hand on the West Ham defence. It looked like Vetterlein used her arm to knock the Brighton striker off her stride. The referee said not but the playback said yup. Thank goodness no VAR in the WSL.

Frustration seemed to be creeping in and the tackles were getting tougher. Kayleigh Green had been let off for a couple of these however a crunching tackle on Rachel Daly and she was finally in the book.  The final whistle on the first half.

As with the first half West Ham were dominant in possession and came close to scoring from the off. With Leon and Van Egmond both coming close but just dragging the ball wide. West Ham’s closed shot all day was when Leon dinked the ball over the keeper. Unfortunately it dinked over the crossbar as well.

It was then it seemed the dominant team seemed to switch off and Brighton grabbed their chance.  A ball bounced from their half and found Rianna Jarrett. A nice dunk over Mackenzie Arnold and Brighton were ahead. 1-0.  Then a few minutes later it was almost a second with a miss kick from Grace Fisk ends up at the feet of Inessa Kaagman. It’s only the quick reaction of Mackenzie Arnold that they don’t double their lead.  And so follows the pattern of the rest of the game West Ham scrabbling and Brighton in control.

Matt Beard has to be on thin ice right now. With only one win out of seven and only four points over all questions need to be asked. Does the difference the team need mean a new manager. It’s my guess if West Ham get absolutely decimated by Chelsea, like last season, not beat but battered Matt will be shown the door. That would be the best time to bed in new management before the transfer window and they face Manchester City who they don’t have the best record against.

Photo: @BHAFCWomen