By James Murray

15th Sep, 2023 | 9:40pm

West Ham United: Women's expert reacts to friendly win v Bristol City

West Ham Women’s expert Michelle Irons has provided her reaction to the friendly victory over Bristol City on Sunday (10 September).

The Hammers hosted the Championship side at Dagenham & Redbridge’s Victoria Road, with Viviane Assey scoring a stunning second-half hat-trick to help her team to a 3-0 win.

Irons believes new manager Rehanne Skinner made the “correct tactical changes” as her side won the game by “dominating the midfield” as they prepare for the start of the WSL season.

“The game started with the ball mostly in West Ham’s possession, with Shannon Cooke using the ball wisely to release Smith multiple times down the wing, something that put the away side under a bit of pressure,” Irons exclusively told West Ham Zone.

“Shannon Cooke showed her excellent touching and passing skills with a calm reassured head at times. Vivi was back after her participation at the Women’s World Cup and looking as bright as ever, full of running and pressing. Most of her gameplay in the first half was being fed through by Mel Filis, as they have a great connection and Vivi showed in that half why she’s a French international.

“The first half was cagey and both teams defended well, with the home side having the best chances to score. Bristol seemed quite nervous in attack and rarely tested another WC participant in Mackenzie Arnold. 

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“It was a hot day, and half-time was needed to reset and go again. New gaffer Rehanne Skinner made some changes and replaced Kirsty Smith and Abbey-Leigh Stringer, with Risa Shimazu and Keira Flannery on for the second half as both players made an instant impact. Keira, albeit a young player, showed real toughness in her play with an added determination to control the tempo and make something happen. 

“Lisa Evans also came in and found some lovely spaces in the Robins’ backline, as they gave her too much respect and she exploited that to the best of her ability. She will be heavily relied upon this season for her creativity and positive forward play. 

“Keira had the room to press forward and release Vivi on multiple occasions, while Mel Filis did a great job in midfield as the pair combined well. This burst of play took West Ham into another gear, with Asseyi showing why she’s a fan favourite. An absolutely fantastic performance from her in the second half included a perfectly executed overhead kick from a pinpoint cross from the effervescent Lisa Evans. 

“Overall, we came alive in the second half after struggling to increase the tempo in the first half, but Rehanne Skinner made the correct tactical changes and won the game by dominating the midfield.”

Next up for the Hammers is the first game of the WSL season, where they will face Manchester City at home.

In other West Ham news, the arrival of one player could help take the club forward this season.