Ashleigh Plumptre & Abbie McManus

Dominant Foxes Stun West Ham To Claim Crucial WSL Victory

LCFC Women sealed a third straight victory by defeating West Ham United 3-0 with a sensational performance at Pirelli Stadium on Sunday.

Lydia Bedford was forced into one change from the side that picked up three points at Birmingham City in their last Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture, with Natasha Flint coming in for the suspended Jess Sigsworth.

And Flint did not wait long to make an impact on her return to the starting XI, chasing Shannon O’Brien’s aerial ball forward to great effect, putting pressure on Hammers ‘keeper Mackenzie Arnold, whose attempted clearance deflected off the striker, with the ball looping straight into the net.

That perfect start got even better for the Foxes when Ashleigh Plumptre rose highest to meet Jemma Purfield's free-kick, nodding the ball back into the bottom corner on nine minutes.

West Ham came into the game sitting seventh in the WSL but were no match for the relentless Foxes. City kept the pressure on as Flint’s latest attempt was saved by Arnold inside 13 minutes, while it took the visitors half an hour to muster their first effort on goal – Yui Hasegawa firing wide.

Leicester continued to stay on the front foot during the second period, making their dominance count early in the half when O’Brien used her pace to get past Hammers captain Gilly Flaherty before swinging in an inviting cross that Freya Gregory turned home at the far post for her first Foxes goal. 

That was game, set and match for the hosts, but they were professional in seeing out the next 40 minutes, with chances to put further gloss on the scoreline. Molly Pike hit one wide of the target shortly after the third goal.

Shot-stopper Demi Lambourne, meanwhile, was called into action to claim several West Ham set pieces, also doing well to save Katerina Svitkova’s powerful strike after she weaved her way into a shooting position inside the box.

Esther Morgan and Charlie Devlin were introduced with just over 20 minutes to play to re-establish some control and both soon made an impact in attacking areas.

Devlin’s neat footwork set O’Brien away and she found Flint, who took the ball around Arnold before Grace Fisk got back to clear and prevent a second of the afternoon for the striker. Plumptre diverted the ball wide from Purfield’s resulting corner as the Nigeria international looked to net her own brace.

Tottenham Hotspur loanee Morgan then played in two superb crosses from the right, the first eventually coming out to Purfield, who turned in the box before angling her effort narrowly past the post with 10 minutes to play. Devlin got on the end of the Wales international’s next delivery, heading wide.

Elysia Boddy came on for her Foxes debut in the closing stages, ahead of Purfield shaving the roof of the net with a curling free-kick that almost added a fourth goal to what was already a perfect afternoon for City.

Major moment… 

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Natasha Flint

Natasha Flint struck for the Foxes early on at Pirelli Stadium.

Getting the opener within two minutes of kick-off – and a second seven minutes later - was a big boost for Leicester, but in truth, they looked confident from the get-go, clearly buoyed by their previous two victories. Continuing that good form was never in doubt once the third goal was added.

Who impressed?

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Ashleigh Plumptre

The defender celebrates in front of the fans following her goal.

The three goalscorers – Natasha Flint, Ashleigh Plumptre and Freya Gregory made the difference at the top end of the pitch, but there were impressive displays across the team, including from captain Abbie McManus, who marshalled the backline with confidence, and Shannon O’Brien, who played a part in two of the goals.

Where do we stand?

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Freya Gregory

Delight for the loanee after she netted her maiden goal for the Club.

The Foxes rise above Everton and up to 10th in the WSL standings, on 12 points from 15 matches and into their highest position this season. Leicester are now eight points clear of Birmingham City at the bottom of the table.

Coming up… 

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Elysia Boddy

New signing Elysia Boddy made her LCFC Women debut late on in Burton.

After the international break, City travel to cup holders Chelsea for their Vitality Women’s FA Cup Fifth Round tie at Kingsmeadow on Saturday 26 February (1pm kick-off).

Their next fixture in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League is away to Manchester United, at Leigh Sports Village, on Saturday 5 March (12pm kick-off).

The details…

 

City: Lambourne; Howard, McManus (c), Plumptre; De Graaf (Morgan 67’), Tierney, Pike (Boddy 87'), Purfield; O’Brien, Flint, Gregory (Devlin 68’).

Subs not used: Harris, Smith, Barker, Bailey-Gayle, Scofield, Goodwin.

Goals: Flint 2’, Plumptre 9’, Gregory 50’.

All times GMT.

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