The Warm Down: Plenty of positives for Harder to take from defeat
Ollie Harder taking training (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

A first half goal from Lucy Quinn settled the hotly contested London derby in favour of Tottenham Hotspur. The strike was the only shot on target for Tottenham and was a fine finish in a game crying out for quality in front of goal. 

West Ham manager Ollie Harder will undoubtedly be frustrated by his side's inability to properly test Becky Spencer in the Tottenham goal, but he will be delighted with the overall performance of a West Ham side that dominated most of the game.

  • West Ham already pressing aggressively

On his arrival in east London, Harder spoke about his desire to bring a pressing style of football and his influence was clear to see from the kick off. West Ham pressed and harried the Spurs players at every turn and were on the front foot for the first half hour. They disrupted Spurs' build up play and did not allow their rivals a chance to get out of their own half.

Spurs grew into the game, but they only could wrestle back some control over the game when West Ham dropped off. Once West Ham began to sit back in their own half Tottenham were able to get into their rhythm and in that spell scored what would prove to be the winner.

While the drop off in intensity that lead to the goal will frustrate the new West Ham boss, he will be happy with the way his players took to his football. Particularly, Harder will be pleased with the way in which West Ham continued to press until the end of the match. Their running levels did not drop and they did not let Spurs breath until the final whistle. 

  • Back three brought the best out of West Ham

Harder brought in four changes for his first match in charge and elected to play a 3-4-3. The system allowed for Emily van Egmond, West Ham's most creative threat, a role further up the pitch and gave her the licence to focus more on her attacking contributions. With Svitkova, playing at wing-back on the left there was still plenty of attacking impetus from wide areas without playing wingers, but the formation also allowed for a more defensively stable structure.

The true beneficiary of the formation though was Grace Fisk. The centre-back, in her first season with the Irons, has shown herself to be a solid partner to captain Flaherty, but her role on the right side of defence allowed her to demonstrate her excellent range of passing. Everything good from West Ham started from her in the back, whether playing passes out wide to stretch the pitch or finding Martha Thomas up top with long balls.

  • They need a proven goal scorer

With Bristol City firmly occupying the bottom place after losing again, West Ham will feel safe enough from relegation, but if Harder does not want to be drawn into a relegation fight they need to sign a goal scorer. Losing Rachel Daly after her loan spell concluded has clearly hit West Ham hard. Without their top goal scorer today they rarely looked like scoring, despite having 15 attempts on goal and nine on target. 

This West Ham side have a lot going forward, and tying up van Egmond on a permanent signing is a coup. However, they need to pair their creativity going forward with a ruthless edge if they want improve results.

  • Next up

West Ham host Durham in the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup on Thursday and a victory would take them to a semi-final tie against either Manchester City or Chelsea. It would be a first ever semi-final in the competition for West Ham and must be a top priority for Harder in his first season. The Irons will be heavy favourites and will look to build on this performance to take them through.