Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham both earned a point on the opening weekend of the FA Women’s Super League.
Both sides played their first competitive game since 23rd February and the game was played behind closed doors.
After the match, head coach Matt Beard spoke to VAVEL UK’s Mitul Samji.
- Team’s performance
“It was a slow start, I thought we grew into the game in the first half. We were frustrated to concede from set play. I think we responded very well after that with a great finish [Adriana Leon]. We had a good chance to win the game at the end. A couple of decisions went against us and we should have had two penalties. It’s a tough place and side to play against so I think we responded well and we can be pleased with it.”
Hammers substitute Ruby Grant missed a glorious opportunity as her shot went agonisingly wide in the final seconds of injury time.
A draw proved to be a fair result in the end.
- Rianna Dean substitution opened the game.
Rianna Dean had a quiet time this time around but last season, she scored in all of their fixtures against the Hammers. Hammers head coach was asked whether Dean’s substitution gave his side a golden opportunity to secure all three points.
“Maybe on balance, a draw is a fair result. Ruby [Grant] had a great opportunity in the end but didn’t take the chance. Apart from that, we did okay in the game. If we would have won the game, I don’t think anyone would have said we didn’t deserve to win.”
- New signings
“I was pleased with everyone’s contribution and we've got some really good players now. Mackenzie Arnold made a big difference and it is like having another outfield player so we are pleased with how our pre-season has gone and most importantly of all, we get off the mark today with a point.”
Matt Beard’s side recruited eight summer signings including Mackenzie Arnold, Maz Pacheco, Katerina Svitkova, Nor Mustafa, Ruby Grant, Hawa Cissoko, Emily van Egmond on loan from Orlando Pride and Rachel Daly from Houston Dash as he looks to prosper his side into further success on the pitch.
- Failing to beat London rivals
Matt Beard’s side have not beaten any of their London rivals since they joined the WSL in 2018/19 campaign. He said;
“We’re a team that started three years ago from scratch so it was going to take time. I am confident this year with the group we’ve got, we can bridge the gap between the top three sides. We got a lot of quality in this team but from my perspective, it’s not about winning London derbies – it’s all about giving the best account of ourselves in every game.”
- Different cultures and personalities
All of the Hammer’s new signings all come from different cultures and different personalities as well as adapting to the ever-growing demands of the new WSL campaign. Matt Beard give his thoughts:
“This transfer window has been quite smooth for us. If you look at our first year, we’ve recruited a whole new team. In the second year, we made 13 changes in the transfer window and every single player came from overseas.
"Last year, we never got the opportunity to see the season out and found our rhythm in the middle of the season. COVID-19 struck and it was tough when you work with a lot of new players and kept the main core of players. For me, pre-season has been a lot better and we went unbeaten throughout pre-season (conceding one goal). The final third needs to be better and we have some players out for the medium/long-term
“The last two years have been tough especially when we are trying to blend those personalities and cultures together confidently. This year, we’ve recruited the right players so we should see a different West Ham side this season.”