Match Reports

Whelan strikes as Albion win again

Brought to you by...

First-half goal enough to secure back-to-back WSL wins for the first time.

By Charlie Hanson • 10 February 2021

By Kyle Hemsley
Aileen Whelan gave Albion a first half lead.

Albion head into the international break having claimed back-to-back wins for the first time in the WSL after they edged past West Ham United 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Aileen Whelan grabbed her second goal in as many games with an emphatic finish to ensure Albion followed up their historic win over league leaders Chelsea on Sunday with another three valuable points.

The victory moves Albion up to seventh, with 15 points from 15 games.

Hope Powell largely stuck with the side that beat the Blues, with Nora Heroum coming into midfield for Emily Simpkins in the only change.

By Kyle Hemsley
Emma Koivisto scuffs an early chance for Albion.

The first opening fell Albion's way after eight minutes when Inessa Kaagman got to the by-line and cut the ball back for Emma Koivisto to hit first time, but the Finland international scuffed the effort before Hammers skipper Gilly Flaherty cleared.

The hosts found themselves with a similar chance nine minutes later, this time Geum-min Lee pulling it back for Heroum, but she struck her effort well wide.

Heroum looked to turn provider for Ellie Brazil, playing a lovely ball from just inside the West Ham half on the left for the striker who made a run through the middle, but goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was alert to the danger and won the race to the ball to gather.

With the half-hour mark approaching West Ham found some impetus and would have been disappointed not to take the lead when Laura Vetterlein looped an effort towards goal, but Maya Le Tissier expertly headed off the line to provide the platform for Albion to go in front.

By Kyle Hemsley
Maya Le Tissier nods off the line, with Albion finding the opening goal moments later.

After Heroum was excellently denied by a one-handed diving save by Arnold, Whelan volleyed home from ten yards to give her side the lead after 31 minutes with Megan Connolly, as she had on Sunday, providing the assist with a left-wing corner.

The see-saw nature of the first half continued as five minutes later Connolly was deemed to have fouled Katerina Svitkova 25 yards from goal. Vetterlein looked for the top right corner, but Albion escaped as the effort caught the top of the crossbar and bounced behind for a goal-kick.

Whelan should have then added a second when she got on the end of Koivisto's low cross from the left, but got underneath the effort 12 yards out, sending it high and wide of the West Ham goal.

While the second-half tempo matched the first, chances were hard to come by and it took until the 68th minute before Albion came close to adding to their lead.

Lee was upended on the Albion right in line with the edge of the West Ham box, Kaagman swung in a delicious cross from the resulting free-kick but Le Tissier couldn't get the right contact on the ball from six yards and the chance went begging.

With ten minutes to go Brazil missed what would have been a first goal since her return from injury when Vetterlein made a tremendous recovery challenge to deny the forward after she was seemingly one-on-one with Arnold.

A late surge from the visitors was weathered by Albion, who held onto secure the win.

That was Albion's final fixture for three weeks, with Hope Powell's team next in action on 7th March at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

Albion: Walsh, Le Tissier, Kerkdijk, Williams ©, Koivisto, Heroum (Bance 74), Connolly, Whelan, Kaagman, Brazil, Lee (Jarrett 90).  

Subs: Fiskerstrand, Roe, Gibbons, Bowman, Simpkins, Symonds.