West Ham United: Women's expert reacts to draw v Liverpool
West Ham Women’s expert Michelle Irons has provided her reaction to the draw against Liverpool Women on 22 October.
Riko Ueki scored a 95th minute equaliser for the Hammers to earn a 1-1 draw for her side after Marie Hobinger had given the Reds the lead earlier on in the half.
Irons believes it was a game where both sides had “quality players” on display in what was a “good game” at Victoria Road.
“The attack of Ueki, Harries and Vivienne Asseyi got us started as all three of them are a real threat and I’m looking forward to seeing them pressing and creating lots of chances,” Irons exclusively told West Ham Zone.
“In the opening 15 minutes, the ball was very much stuck in the middle with both teams trying to settle down as there were a couple of chances for each team. Kirsty Smith sent in a lovely cross, which just evaded Asseyi and Riko.
“West Ham were disciplined in the first half as they did their job efficiently and were able to deal with Liverpool’s quick changes in positioning. With Taylor Hinds going from full-back and venturing into the middle, we didn’t take advantage of the space that was created there.
“Liverpool’s best chance was through Nagano having a strong shot on target, but Mackenzie Arnold held firm for a confident save. Both teams were evenly matched in the first half with similar play after what was an overall good test, but more intensity was needed going forward. Our main attackers Ueki and Asseyi looked dangerous. Liverpool also looked threatening as the bar was hit just before the break.
“Emma Harries made way for Mel Filis at the start of the second half and this made sense as Nagano was everywhere and Filis’ strength was needed to keep her off the ball.
“Liverpool opened the scoring from our own mistake as Cooke played a long pass to Shimazu, but she was beaten to it and the visitors scored a well-deserved opener as West Ham were far too casual.
“Most of the second half was trying to break down Liverpool’s reserve, but we lacked control at points and gave the ball away in some areas. But, ultimately, our goal came after much determination in the latter stages of the game. I expected us to up the tempo and put Liverpool under pressure and we did it effectively.
“Filis was the driver of this as she had more of the ball. It was a huge test against the quality of Nagano, but she kept going and finally got her reward with a fine assist into the box for Ueki to stab home. She put a similar ball into the exact same area not 20 minutes before that, which was cleared but she kept her focus and stuck to her role.
“The introduction of Izzy Atkinson on 77 minutes was a huge catalyst for us as she gave us a new dimension in terms of crosses and corners won. She has a lovely touch on her, which created some nervous moments for Liverpool. She showed the same character here as she did for her winner against Charlton. When she’s free to attack she can do anything and, going forward this season, she will be a very important player for us.
“Atkinson had two excellent chances to score before the equaliser and a goal in this fixture would have been brilliant for her. I’d like to see her be integrated into our attack.
“Overall, it was a good game between two good WSL sides. Both have quality players, who can produce some fantastic moments. West Ham will look back at this and be grateful to have taken a point as Liverpool are a tough, battling team. Four points on the board so far and more to come hopefully before the turn of the year, especially if we keep our determination and discipline.”
Next up for West Ham is a home game against Bristol City on 5 November.
In other West Ham news, an £8million development has emerged in the club’s bid to sign Kalvin Phillips.