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West Ham Utd 1 Lewes 0
West Ham United gained a very hard earned victory over Lewes. their second FAWPL Southern Division win of the season.
Having been pegged back at the death in the reverse fixture only last week, the Hammers took all three points with brave team display against opponents who dominated the last hour of the match in terms of possession, territory and chances. However, the Rookettes were denied, principally by a super goalkeeping display of international class from Aditi Chauhan, brave and decisive in every situation, saving four one on one encounters to preserve a clean sheet.
The first half hour was largely even with few chances at either end. Danielle Lane produced a couple of dangerous crosses for Lewes from the right, whilst Erika Campesi shone for the hosts working in a similar role. Chauhan made her first save at the feet of Sian Heather which was the start of a strong period of Lewes pressure. Katie McIntyre's free kick found Kelly Newton's head, the ball deflecting away for a corner. Heather shot inches wide twice at the near post within a minute, both from Lane crosses. McIntyre fired over when free at the far post on 39 minutes then was denied by Chauhan right on the break as the Indian international was quickly off her line to block a goalbound effort.
Hannah Wheeler was the next Hammers hero, clearing off the line after another Lane cross had caused havoc in the West Ham box two minutes after the restart. The home team created their first clear chance of the afternoon when Campesi crossed for Shirvae Edwards to shoot over the bar from close range on 49 minutes. Paige Walder had a shot from distance held by Chauhan then McIntyre broke free down the left and the keeper held her cross at the second attempt.
The breakthrough came around the hour mark. Good interplay freed Romina Pinna down the right and her cross found Paige Anderson-James, who made no mistake from close range to give West Ham the lead.
Lewes continued to press forward and Chauhan was again alert to throw herself at McIntyre's feet and deflect the ball wide on 63 minutes. Two minutes later, the Hammers keeper saved at the edge of her area, requiring lengthy treatment after a collision with Lane.
West Ham grew in confidence and defended with real determination as the match moved into the final minutes. Lewes won a number of free kicks and corners in dangerous positions but never managed to get the better of West Ham skipper Katie Bottom and her fellow defenders.
Even so, one final chance fell to the Rookettes and it took a superb reaction save from Chauhan to deflect a low close range shot just wide of the post as the match moved into added time.
In truth, it was a win fashioned out of sheer guts against a very good Lewes display. West Ham took one of the two clear chances they created whilst Lewes could not convert any of the eight or nine which their good approach play carved out. Results elsewhere made this a particularly valuable win for the Hammers especially after in view of the introduction to the team of a number of new players recently.
West Ham Utd: Aditi Chauhan, Katie Bottom, Hannah Wheeler, Natalie Strange, Danni Ritson, Georgia Miller, Shirvae Edwards, Romina Pinna, Erika Campesi, Whitney Locke, Paige Anderson-James. Subs: Danielle Sillitoe, Pauline Adeyemo, Olivia Sammons, Jodie Sanderson, Rosie Missen.
Lewes: Hollie Augustus, Claire Capon, Sian Cheedy, Tash Wells, Rachel Palmer, Paige Walder, Kelly Newton, Katie McIntyre, Danielle Lane, Sian Heather, Ellie Lock. Subs: Sienna Howell, Julia Louis-Joseph, Chloe Howe, Lauren Dolbear.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Sian Heather tries to get in a challenge on Danni Ritson
(middle) Hannah Wheeler battles with Sian Heather
(bottom) Katie McIntyre (4) sends in a free kick for Lewes
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