This was the second meeting between the two sides this season which Reading were eventual winners last month over West Ham in the FA Women’s Super League.
“We are pleased to get the win on board. It was a must win game for us tonight if we want to progress in this tournament.
“Getting bonus points against Brighton, with Reading beating Charlton which gives us a good chance to progress in the tournament. It was one of our targets we set early in the new season. I am very pleased with the clean sheet and converted our chances tonight.”
Alisha Lehmann’s goalscoring record against Reading
West Ham’s no.7 has scored five times in eight appearances against Reading. Hammers head coach was asked about the secret behind Lehmann’s impressive record.
“Reading leave a lot of space behind and she’s a very quick player She has been out of the team and working incredibly hard in training. People don’t see the work she is putting in on a regular basis. We saw the benefits of it tonight and if you look at the third goal, the work rate to get the ball back and it was the same case for the first goal once she opened up and running into spaces. She’s one of the quickest female athletes I’ve ever worked with.”
Victory providing a confidence boost and squad rotation
Beard remained confident that his side’s cup win over Reading will kickstart their season.
“We had a tough start to the season and got everyone fully fit now, apart from Maz Pacheco. We’ve had a tough period with personnel’s being in and out of the team. Hopefully, we build up some consistency and got players like Kenza Dali and Ruby Grant that haven’t got onto the pitch tonight. There are all really talented footballers and from my perspective, it’s good to have that selection headache and the competition for places will drives us on.
“I think we will pick the team based on fitness and form in training. We will select players I believe that can win us games. We treat every competition the same. Courtney Brosnan played for us against Brighton but Mackenzie Arnold played tonight because we were under a press. Reading play in your half of the pitch when you are looking to play out so we felt that it was the best option for us tonight.”
The Hammers conceded two penalties in the game. Lauren Bruton’s missed the first spot kick which was brilliantly saved by Mackenzie Arnold and Danielle Carter’s penalty miss in the second half went wide of the post. Matt Beard had his thoughts on both penalty incidents.
“For the first penalty, I haven’t seen it properly but will have to watch it again. But for the second one, it was a definite penalty and Mackenzie would have saved the second penalty, even though it was dragged wide. We were working on penalties yesterday, Courtney and Mackenzie saved 70 per cent of them so I’m glad we did it.”
Another UK national lockdown
The whole of United Kingdom endures a second national lockdown, following the Prime Minister’s announcement last weekend. Elite sport continues during the second lockdown including the women’s game and the 42-year-old shared a message to the West Ham faithful during these difficult times.
“I’m glad we can carry on playing and we still have games to look forward too with the rest of the team. Tough times for everyone in the world right now and hopefully our fans and their families are keeping well and safe. Hope everyone gets through this month and we can move forward again as a country but stay safe and stay healthy. Thank you for the ongoing support.”