Match Reports

Report: Lehmann delivers Albion a hammer blow

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Alisha Lehmann’s two goals in the space of four second-half minutes condemned Albion to a frustrating 2-1 defeat to West Ham United at Rush Green.

By James Hilsum • 19 January 2020

By Kyle Hemsley
Lea Le Garrec brings the ball out of midfield.
  • Albion are beaten 2-1 by West Ham United
  • Danique Kerkdijk on target for Albion
  • Alisha Lehmann scores twice for West Ham to give the hosts victory
  • The Seagulls turn their attention to an FA Cup tie away at Aston Villa next Sunday

Danique Kerkdijk’s first goal for the club saw Albion lead for almost 60 minutes of the contest, before Lehman struck twice late on to give the Hammers all three points and cruelly deny Hope Powell’s team a share of the spoils.

The Albion manager made five changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Manchester United on Wednesday, with Megan Walsh, Kirsty Barton, Dani Bowman, Lea Le Garrec and Kayleigh Green all coming into the side.

By Kyle Hemsley
Albion players celebrate Danique Kerkdijk's goal against West Ham United.

Powell urged her team to continue the momentum following on from a positive display against the Red Devils, and she would have been pleased by what she saw in an encouraging start.

Albion had some promising early spells of possession with chances falling to both Kate Natkiel and Le Garrec, before the deadlock was broken in the 24th minute courtesy of Kerkdijk.

Aileen Whelan hooked the ball back across the box towards the Netherlands international, who prodded the ball just over the line to get the Seagulls a well-deserved goal.

By Kyle Hemsley
Kate Natkiel takes on Cecilie Redisch Kvamme.

Clearly buoyed by the goal, Albion drove forward in search of a second when Fliss Gibbons made a driving run forward and picked out Le Garrec with a sublime cross, but the latter’s effort went straight at Courtney Brosnan after ghosting into the box unmarked.

Chances were few and far between for the Hammers, but they did come close to restoring parity to the scoreline when Gilly Flaherty rose highest in the box to meet Kenza Dali’s cross only to head wide of the far post.

Powell’s team came out after the break in search of a second, with Le Garrec integral to Albion’s positive forward play.

By Kyle Hemsley
Albion captain Dani Bowman.

The French midfielder played a brilliant pass over the top of the Hammers defence with Whelan and Green bearing down on goal, but the latter fired wide after stretching to meet the ball.

But the hosts improved as the half wore on, and Lehmann got her first clear sight of goal when she fired just wide of Walsh’s far post with an angled strike to give the Albion defence a warning of what was to come.

Albion saw their lead extinguished in the 80th minute when Katharina Baunach played a deep ball towards the far post, and Lehmann fired past Walsh from close range.

By Kyle Hemsley
Kirsty Barton fends the ball away from Filippa Wallen.

The Swiss forward then scored what proved to be the second decisive goal of the contest in the 83rd minute, as she clinically fired past Walsh in a one-v-one to make the final score 2-1.

The result means the gap between Albion and the one relegation place has decreased to three points following Liverpool’s 1-0 win against Bristol City to tighten up the battle for FAWSL survival.

Powell’s team now briefly turn their attention away from the league to the FA Cup when they face Aston Villa in a fourth round tie next Sunday.

ALBION: Walsh; Barton (Lundorf 90+2), Kerkdijk, Williams, Gibbons; Connolly, Bowman, Natkiel (Umotong 84); Le Garrec, Whelan, Green.

SUBS NOT USED: Fiskerstrand (GK), Roe, Le Tissier, Simpkins, Nilden.