By George Overhill

1st May, 2022 | 7:40am

West Ham Women expert reacts to dominant win at Reading as another Hammer brought up a century

We’re delighted to welcome Michelle Irons as our exclusive West Ham Women’s expert. Each week she’ll be giving her views on the biggest talking points at Victoria Road…

Ahead of the trip to Manchester United, West Ham Women expert Michelle Irons runs through the excellent win at Reading last time out.

After a deflating run of three straight defeats, that had seen Manchester City knock the Hammers out of the cup at the semi-final stage, it was a welcome return to form.

And hot on the heels of Gilly Flaherty bringing her 100 up in an Irons shirt, she was joined by another stalwart in the century club, on a great day for Olli Harder’s team.

Speaking exclusively to West Ham Zone Irons said: “West Ham made three changes form the previous FA Cup semi against City. Zaneta Wyne, Hawa Cissoko and Emma Snerle came in with captain Gilly Flaherty missing out. 

“A special mention for the Captain of the day Kate Longhurst who made her 100th appearance for west Ham United. 

“Early stages of the game the Hammers passed it around confidently and in the opening five minutes West Ham really took charge, with the front batch of Yui Hasegawa, Adriana Leon, Lisa Evans and Snerle really linking up well.

“On seven minutes they had the ball in the net but was called offside after great work by Wyne to open up Reading’s right side with a pass to Evans. The right call but this would prove to be a busy first half for the Reading keeper. 

“West Ham were in control with Katerina Svitkova having lots of space to attack, and the same on the other side with Wyne. 

“Reading unusually started to play out from the back and put themselves under unnecessary pressure which West Ham revelled in.

“Every time Reading did this West Ham won the ball back which was a delight to see.

“West Ham’s passing and link up play was excellent and we looked to break and attack at every opportunity. We played with a high tempo and high energy, showing real purpose in getting the three points. 

“Grace Maloney, the Reading GK was keeping the Royals in the game and half time came with a surprising 0-0 scoreline still in tact.

“I lost count of how many attempts and attacks West Ham had as the home side really didn’t get out of their own half. 

“This was the best half I’ve seen from West Ham all season. The only thing missing was a goal. 

“Second half kicked off no differently, with West Ham scoring 30 seconds from the whistle.

“A great bit of play from Hasegawa, playing in Snerle with a pinpoint pass for her to smash it in the top corner. Her first goal in claret and blue.

“Leon was causing Reading all sorts of problems turning, weaving and getting into space, dragging the defenders out of position. It’s great to see her back to her best she’s a game changer for us. 

“Most of the second half Reading huffed and puffed but could just not string anything together, and with West Ham slowing the game down it was crying out for a second goal.

“Reading brought on Natasha Dowie but West Ham just did everything right and frustrated them as they struggled to get out of their own half again.

“Tameka Yallop came on with just over 20 minutes to go and was straight into action, really linking up well with Evans and Hasegawa. 

“The moment of the match came towards full time when Yallop creating some space for Evans to cross low to Hasegawa, who showed excellent skill to floor two defenders and smash it home. 

“Despite a late consolation for the hosts it was a well earned three points and up to sixth in the league. Grace Fisk, Evans, Leon and Wyne were outstanding with a brilliant taken goal by Hasegawa.”

A second consecutive away win at Reading sets the team up perfectly to attack the final two games of the season and go into the summer on a high.

United and Arsenal will be tough tasks, but the players should be feeling confident after a dominant display.

And with fifth to eighth spot in the WSL all closely bunched, the last two outings will still have a large bearing on the final position.

In other West Ham news, the men’s manager David Moyes still has his eye on a big-money transfer that looked to be dead.

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