Molly Pike

Foxes Fall To WSL Defeat At West Ham

LCFC Women were beaten 4-0 by West Ham United Women in Sunday’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture at Chigwell Construction Stadium.

Four changes were made from the team that faced Manchester United two weeks ago with Abbie McManus, Shannon O’Brien, Hannah Cain and Sophie Barker all coming into the starting XI following injury.

They replaced Sophie Howard, Georgia Brougham, Jemma Purfield and Lachante Paul as the Foxes switched to a 3-5-2 formation. New signing Luana Zajmi was also handed a place in the squad for the first time.

Both sides were searching for their first victory of the campaign and it was the hosts who started on the front foot. Adriana Leon was straight into the action early on, crossing for Tameka Yallop, who flicked the ball narrowly wide of goal.

And the home side came even closer when Dagny Brynjarsdottir found Kate Longhurst in the six-yard box but a combination of Cain’s block and Kirstie Levell’s outstretched arm prevented the ball hitting the back of the net.

A third West Ham opportunity arrived inside the opening 15 minutes. Levell was called into action once more, denying a curling effort from the lively Canadian international forward Leon.

Yui Hasegawa then picked out Brynjarsdottir from a free-kick and the midfielder’s glancing header was inches away from nestling in the corner of the net.

Leicester needed to try and get a foothold in the game, but the hosts were relentless in their pursuit of the opener and found a way through via an aerial ball forward that Yallop took in her stride and slotted past Levell on 26 minutes.

The confidence showed by the Hammers was in evidence when Leon went for goal from distance minutes later, although the strike was too high to trouble Levell. An indirect free-kick then posed more problems, but Leicester managed to get a block in and clear the danger.

Brynjarsdottir volleyed over as the hosts’ pressure continued and, on 38 minutes, the home side doubled their advantage. A long ball into the box by Yallop was headed on by Hammers captain Gilly Flaherty into the path of Claudia Walker to finish first-time.

Things got even better for West Ham shortly before the interval when Leon’s cross was sliced into her own net by Ashleigh Plumptre to make it 3-0. There were further opportunities, too, with Walker dragging a low shot that City's shot-stopper was able to claim, before Leon struck wide of goal.

The Foxes came out fighting in the second period, starting brightly after a triple half-time change. One of those introduced, Mackenzie Smith, set up Molly Pike on the edge of the box but her shot landed just over the bar.

It was a lively opening at both ends with Levell having to beat away Brynjarsdottir’s effort, before Yallop failed to hit the target from another Leon cross.

Arnold was then on hand twice to deny the Foxes. Firstly Jemma Purfield cut inside and found the ‘keeper equal to her right-footed attempt, before Smith tried her luck from range and again Arnold was in the way.  

Another City substitute, Esmee De Graaf, was straight into the action, diverting the ball narrowly wide from Jess Sigsworth’s knock down, ahead of her shot on the turn which landed the wrong side of the post.

With just under 10 minutes to play, Hasegawa's cross from the left then led to the Hammers’ fourth goal as Yallop's header cannoned back off crossbar, hitting Levell and bouncing back into the top corner of the net.

Zaneta Wyne headed over fellow substitute Katerina Svitkova’s corner late on, but the home side had already secured the three points.

Major moment…

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Natasha Flint
Natasha Flint

The Foxes did have opportunities in Dagenham, but the Hammers made theirs count on the scoresheet.

While West Ham had already established a two-goal cushion during the first half, the third goal right before the break gave Leicester a mountain to climb and one that they could not recover from.

Where does it leave us?

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Paige Bailey-Gayle
Paige Bailey-Gayle

Youngster Paige Bailey-Gayle tries to work an opening for Leicester.

The Foxes sit 10th in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table after three games, with Reading and Birmingham City also yet to pick up a point so far this term.

Coming up…

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Shannon O'Brien
Shannon O'Brien

City return to King Power Stadium next time out in the Barclays FA Women's Super League.

LCFC Women are next in Barclays FA Women’s Super League action on Sunday 3 October, facing Tottenham Hotspur Women at King Power Stadium (2pm kick-off).

Before then, however, they face Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the 2020/21 Vitality Women’s FA Cup at Academy Stadium on Wednesday (7pm kick-off).

The details…

City: Levell; Tierney, McManus (Smith 46’), Plumptre; Bailey-Gayle (Howard 46’), Pike, Barker (c) (Brougham 63’), O’Brien, Cain (Purfield 46’); Flint (De Graaf 71'), Sigsworth.

Subs not used: Lambourne, Devlin, Zajmi, Camwell.

All times BST.

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