West Ham women show they can live with Super League best
PUBLISHED: 17:30 20 September 2018
Debut draw for Hammers at Rush Green
West Ham 0 Reading 0
West Ham Women stepped into the spotlight on Wednesday evening with their first ever Super League clash, and though it ended in a goalless draw there were plenty of signs that they will be a success.
Reading finished fourth last season and won their opening game this term 4-0, so the fact the Hammers could live with them is a real boost.
A crowd of 658 turned up on a windy night in Rush Green to watch a new dawn in West Ham women’s football, and there was plenty to admire.
The challenges were crunching and some of the fouls from both teams were brutal.
One Reading player scythed down West Ham full-back Erin Simon with a challenge which reminded me of Julian Dicks in his pomp.
And there were some skilful and very speedy players on both teams.
For West Ham, Alisha Lehmann, stormed down the right wing, especially in the first half, and also hit the post with perhaps West Ham’s best chance of the match.
In the middle of the park, Brianna Visalli was a livewire all evening, prompting, scurrying and tackling, while at the back Brooke Hendrix coped admirably with a speedy Reading front line.
The more experienced visitors just about shaded the first half and dominated for most of the second, but they could not get past goalkeeper Becky Spencer.
She made a superb save in the first half with her legs, while in the second she had even more to do as Reading pressed.
In the end she would not be beaten and as West Ham rallied towards the final whistle, with the introduction of the lively Leanne Kiernan, they almost snatched it when Hendrix met a free kick with a firm header, only for the keeper to make a good save.
Reading also hit the post in the dying moments, but a draw was about right.
Despite the lack of goals, there was plenty out there to get the spectators back for more games and West Ham will play weaker opposition in the future who they will be able to beat.
They face an even bigger test away to Arsenal on Sunday, who won 7-0 at Yeovil on Wednesday night.
But West Ham know they are not out of place in this league and hopefully they will attract the crowds to back that up.