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West Ham United Women vs Manchester City at Chigwell Construction Stadium

Chigwell Construction Stadium Referee : Kirsty Dowle
9th May 2021 2:30 PM (BST)
  • 0 West Ham United Women

  • 1 Manchester City

    • ‘75' Ellen White


Commentary By George Kelsey


See you later 👋

That's all from me, thanks for joining us for an enthralling end to the Barclays FA WSL season!

It's been a campaign to remember, with plenty to be proud of and lots of positives to take forward from here.

We're back facing the Hammers in the FA Cup next week, so here's hoping for a similar result... but maybe without two penalty misses 🤦‍♂️ 


Taylor on lessons learned 💬

"So much, so much! Too many things to mention or explain. 

"But I’ve found out so many things - not just in this competition but others. 

"On top of that, operating within the pandemic, you just don’t get that time. I was talking with Olli Harder about that - coming in halfway through, not being able to establish those relationships...

"It’s been really tough and all the players in the WSL and professional footballers deserve tremendous credit. 

"This has been really tough. Although we’re fortunate in that we can kind of operate normally in our job it’s been so difficult.

"We're moving in the right direction."


Taylor on injury news 💬

(On Ellie Roebuck): "Yeah, I think she’ll be fit for the Olympics. It’s a bit of a freak incident in the gym.

Shel'l be out around 3-4 weeks. I think she’ll be shut down for a couple of weeks and be in a boot, then step up her rehab to be ready for the Olympics."

(On Aoife Mannion): "Aoife sustained an injury on Friday. The pain was too much,. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to travel down with us. I don't think it’s a huge injury but again, we’ll have to get some info off the medics at the start of the week."


Taylor (on recruitment) 💬

"I think we're always looking to improve. Sometimes, it’s just time to work on the pitch and have time with the players. 

"We’ll always look to improve. Notoriously, the contracts are fairly short in the women’s game but that’s the same for everyone.

""The Community Shield was an eye-opener. I actually thought: 'Wow, Chelsea are a couple of transfer windows ahead of us. So, for us to do what we’ve done shows how well we’ve done but also how much we can improve."

(On record of highest points as runners-up): "I think everyone makes the point of our weak start, and yeah, there were games we gave up points in but I just think it takes time for the team to click. 

"We had new players, a new coach but we’ve gradually grown and started to reach high levels and to go on a record breaking run in my first season is something I’m really proud of. 

"There’s a lot of pride and to get that total without winning the league tells you the levels you’re operating at and how the game’s improving. You have to be really at it."


Taylor 💬

"Of course, we want it in our hands next season and to keep it that way. That’s tremendously difficult to do. 

"Chelsea have had a very good season. To have a team chasing you all the way like we’ve done isn’t easy. Congratulations to them. 

"The 12 teams can be a frustration because you only play 22 games. We’ve lost one and that’s enough to not win the title. 

"We’re moving in the right direction and we’re always looking to improve and get better as a club.

"We’ve done some really good things this season and made some really significant steps. We’ve built in terms of the way we’ve played, there’s been some fine individuals that’ve improved this season and they’ve all added those bits we want in the team."


Taylor (on his first season in charge) 💬

"For sure, I'm happy, especially given the circumstances on taking the job. 

"Winning a trophy is something I’m really proud of and we got to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. We want to improve on that for sure.

"We took it to the final day. I’m new to this, teams around us have done this for longer with different coaches at the helm.

"I'm excited about it and we can only go from strength to strength."


Gareth Taylor 💬

"I thought it could’ve been five or six at half-time. We had chances but our final actions let us down a bit and that seemed a bit of a theme in the second period. 

"I'm really pleased we got the goal eventually and hopefully, next week we’ll see a different game. 

" The margin for error is very tight. We just need more time. 

"We’ve seen real improvement, especially in the way we play. We’ve run a very good team very close, playing with good exciting football with pace, scoring goals. It’s constant improvements. 

"Even if we won the league, we always look to get better."


Kelly the assist queen

Chloe Kelly's glittering debut season might've been cut short, but she has ended this season as the Barclays FA WSL's joint-highest assister.

Only Arsenal’s Katie McCabe has laid on as many goals for her teammates as our winger!


Silver linings

Our return of 55 points marks the highest total ever recorded by runners-up in Barclays FA WSL history.

It's been a season of fine margins, but that stat alone provides plenty of encouragement going forward.



Ellen White's late strike means City end the season with a deserved win away to West Ham.

It wasn't enough to claim the title, but we should be very proud of what we have achieved in a hard-fought league campaign.

A tinge of disappointment which is completely drowned out by bucket loads of pride!

Stay tuned for post-match reaction, and the thoughts of the boss, Gareth Taylor.



Lauren Hemp gets a ball flush in the face from all of three yards.

That looked really nasty, and Pacheco is very apologetic as Hemp receives some treatment.



Rose Lavelle smashes an effort towards goal, but it's straight down the throat of Arnold in the West Ham goal.

Stoppage time approaching...


Three to go

That penalty save has, understandably, put the wind back in the West Ham sails.

They win a free kick in a dangerous area on the City right.

A chance to launch a ball into the box...


Bronze almost strikes gold

Lucy Bronze races onto a ball over the top, but Arnold gets there in the nick of time to block the defender's run as she attempts to round the 'keeper.

City in the ascendancy.


Pressing for #2

Laura Coombs flashes a dangerous ball across the box, which is agonisingly out of reach of Hemp.

The goal seems to have knocked the stuffing out of West Ham, with City comfortably knocking the ball around.

Elsewhere, Chelsea have made it four at home to Reading.


White hot Ellen 👏

Finally we have the opener!

The skipper volleys home emphatically into the top corner after Lucy Bronze stole possession from Cissokho in a dangerous area.

Goal number 10 of the season for White, GET IN!


Fine margins

Lauren Hemp squares for Ellen White, but Pacheco gets in just in time to block.

It's just not falling for us at the moment, but there's still plenty of time!

Alex Greenwood is being seen to after a clash of heads, but thankfully looks okay to continue 👍


Pressing on

Arnold's clearance lands right into the path of Rose Lavelle, but the American can't quite sort her feet out in time.

Her split second hesitation allows the hosts to get bodies behind the ball again and the chance goes begging.


Patient play

There's a definite urgency from City, but that's not transferred into desperation by any stretch as Fisk nicks in just ahead of Ellen White to clear a low ball into the box.

Barring a miracle, it looks like Chelsea have wrapped up the title, they're three up now at home to Reading.

Regardless, let's go out on a high with a hard-fought win 💪



Georgia Stanway gets clattered by Brynjarsdottir as they both go up for a header.

She checks she's got all of her teeth still before carrying on nonchalantly.

They make 'em tough up here.


'Good foul'

Arnold's goal-kick lands into the path of Caroline Weir, but she's brought down by Longhurst before she can start racing through the gears.

We'll put that one under 'good foul' in the encyclopaedia of footballing cliches...

City take the free-kick short and instantly start zipping the ball around.



What. Is. Going. On.

Esme Morgan and Sam Mewis both hit the bar inside two seconds of each other from a corner!

Much, much better from City in the last few minutes!


Getting out wide

City looking to stretch West Ham by getting the ball out wide, but Beckie's cross to the back post has a little too much on it for the onrushing Hemp.

Moments later, Arnold shanks a clearance out for a throw in a decent area. This could be a good platform for City to build on.


Slow start

Bronze's ball forward is in front of Mewis and easily cleared by West Ham.

Lauren Hemp looks to inject a bit of life into the game, but is adjudged to have fouled Barker has she battles for possession.


Will the pressure tell?

West Ham deserve huge credit for the way in which they've approached this game, Gareth Taylor heaped praise on the way that Olli Harder sets his side up, and it's now clear to see why.

Surely the pressure will eventually tell though, especially given our incredible knack of finding a late goal.

The title might be out of reach as it stands, but let's go out on a high! 


Half-time ⌚

A breathless encounter in Dagenham so far!

City certainly in the driving seat but the hosts are holding firm, thanks in no small part to their goalkeeper, Mackenzie Arnold, who saved Sam Mewis' penalty.

Work to do, but we fight 'til the end!


Two minutes of stoppage time

Can City grab a goal just before the break? They certainly deserve it imo.

Elsewhere, Chelsea have doubled their lead at home to Reading.


Relentless 😅

Keira Walsh and Caroline Weir win the ball back on the high press and release Beckie down the right

Her cross is fumbled by Arnold, but Flaherty is on hand to scramble it away.

Approaching stoppage time now...


Another chance

City, of course, haven't dwelled on that penalty save and are immediately back at it looking for the opener.

A lofted ball into the back post is a matter of inches away from Hemp at the back post.




Arnold guesses right and makes a smart save down to her right!

Mewis had to put the ball back on the spot after it rolls off, did that maybe disrupt her flow?



Lucy Bronze gets the ball right in her face... it's one of those that, no matter how many times it happens, is always a stinger.

The ball also looks like one of those ones too that, when it's a bit chilly is like being hit in the face by a brick.

In typical Lucy Bronze fashion she's absolutely fine.


Caroline Oatway at the Chigwell Construction Stadium

"It's been a frantic last ten minutes here - good chances at both ends!

"City understandably trying to rush things to try and get that first goal to build on... We're not playing with our usual patience and composure. Can feel the anxiety rising with every missed chance.

"Meanwhile, West Ham pressing really high, putting our defence under pressure. We've not been able to play out comfortably from the back.

"It's very nervy. I do wonder whether that tannoy announcement has got into our heads a little...?"



Can you get any closer?!

Gilly Flaherty clears Caroline Weir's effort off the line after Lauren Hemp had headed the ball back into her path.


Big opportunity

Another chance goes begging for City - Beckie does well to get on the end of Hemp's looping cross, but heads it just wide of the far post.

SURELY this can't be goalless for much longer?


Story so far 📖

It's fair to say that City have looked the more likely to score on balance.

Cissokho's spectacular solo effort aside, City have been in control.

But credit to the hosts, who have been pressing relentlessly from the off and catch Beckie offside as a ball is lofted over the top.


Off the bar

WOW - Caroline Weir is a coat of paint from grabbing the opening goal!

The midfielder crashes an effort from the edge of the box off the bar, and Ellen White can't quite turn the rebound home.

This is turning into a brilliant game!


So close for West Ham

Cissokho wins the ball on the edge of her box, slaloms through some challenges and then gets on the end of Dali's cross.

The defender goes for the spectacular and flashes an overhead kick just wide of the far post.

She looked as shocked as the rest of us as she ran back into position!


Counter attack

The free-kick is hit straight into the wall, and City launch into a devastating counter.

West Ham just about manage to hook the ball clear for a corner before Ellen White can pounce.


Big chance 🎆

How has that not gone in?!

Flaherty does brilliantly to nick in ahead of Beckie at the back-post and somehow hook Hemp's ball away from danger.

Mewis scuffs the follow up into the ground.


Caroline Oatway at the Chigwell Construction Stadium

"The layout of the Chigwell Construction Stadium (and ongoing COVID restrictions) means the press box is situated right next to where City's substitutes and injured players are watching the game.

"From the off, the players have been cheering on their support, encouraging their teammates to burst forward and shoot at every opportunity. Sam Mewis receives congratulations for testing the 'keeper early on.

"The drawback of our proximity though is the fact the players can hear the radio commentaries and it's just been announced over the tannoy that Chelsea have scored. Mind games?

"Changes nothing here though - we still need to try and win by four goals, whatever happens there."



The best chance of the half so far, as Janine Beckie forces a smart save from Arnold after racing in on goal.

She could've squared for White but opted to go it alone after racing through on the right.

The subsequent corner is well cleared by West Ham.


Ten-minute mark

The Chelsea score has just been given out over the tannoy, I don't think I've ever seen that before...

Ellen White nicks possession from Denton, but her ball through to Hemp is cut out by Flaherty.


Getting closer...

Lucy Bronze plays a lovely ball across to Lauren Hemp, who then looks to play Caroline Weir in.

But the pass is slightly out of reach of the onrushing Scottish international.

City in control so far.


Score update

Melanie Leupolz has put Chelsea ahead at home to Reading.

We need the Royals to get something out of that game to stand any chance of winning the title.

Meanwhile, Ellen White is a whisker away from getting on the end of Sam Mewis' cutback.


Bright start ⭐️

Sam Mewis tries her luck from 25 yards, but Mackenzie Arnold smothers the effort low to her left.

City enjoying the majority of the play so far.


Early exchanges

City bring the ball out from deep in our half and start zipping it around nicely.

A calm and collected start from Gareth Taylor's side so far.


Team talk

City, in our black away kit, get into a pre-match huddle as the West Ham anthem 'I'm forever blowing bubbles' blares out across the tannoy

Come on, City! 💪


Here we go...

The players are out on the pitch, and they undergo a minute's applause for a true legend of the women's game, Julie Chipchase.

A real pioneer for women's football, the former Doncaster Belles manager sadly passed away this week at the age of 60.


Caroline Oatway at the Chigwell Construction Stadium

"Shooting practice now for our City forwards. Volleys on the agenda at the moment - my favourite kind of goal!

"Of course, we know we have to score as many goals as we possibly can today to stand any chance of lifting a second FA WSL title. If Chelsea draw, we need to win by four clear goals. Not beyond the realms of possibility by any stretch for this free-scoring Gareth Taylor side - and we bagged four against West Ham earlier in the season.

"In that knowledge, there's a lot of pressure on our attacking players to deliver - but there are plenty out there who are used to playing under high-pressure situations. If it's still 0-0 after 30 mins, we mustn't panic. Trust the process and stay patient - it's served us well in the past.

"The players themselves look to be in a relaxed mood. Caroline Weir, Jess Park and Lauren Hemp in particular looking sharp in target practice and birthday girl Ellen White will be hungry for a celebratory goal (or two... or three!)"


Plenty to fight for

Victory is far from a foregone conclusion in Dagenham and the hosts will be keen to guarantee their survival - even though it is VERY unlikely that they'll go down.

West Ham can only be relegated if Birmingham, Aston Villa and Bristol City all pick up wins themselves and, if that wasn't enough, there would need to be a 35-goal swing in the process.

It's a funny old game... but I think even that's probably just about beyond the realms of possibility.

Still, Olli Harder's team will be hoping to end the season on a high, so we need to be at our best to get the job done 💪


Will to win

A quick reminder of what needs to happen for us to become champions:

Chelsea defeat to Reading x City win

Chelsea draw with Reading x City win by 4+ goals

We'll bring you the latest from Chelsea v Reading throughout - so keep your eyes peeled and your fingers crossed 🤞


Gareth Taylor hoping for another 93:20 moment 👀

"What an end to the season this is. We’re really excited about it.

"We want to strike the first blow, score first in that game, and then all of a sudden the outlook changes.

"We’re talking about pressure, we’re talking about emotions, I was fortunate enough to be in the stadium when Aguero scored.

"It was a real ebb and flow of a game and I’m sure that’s what will happen Sunday, that’s what we hope for.

"We just need to control the controllables and do our bit."


Hammered by injury

West Ham are in the midst of a bit of an injury crisis at the moment, meaning they have only been able to name three substitutes for today's clash.

Anouk Denton and Maisy Barker will also be making their Barclays FA WSL debuts this afternoon for the Hammers


Gareth Taylor on his first season in charge 🗣

"How long have you got?! I’ve learned so much, but i’ve loved it and I’m certain there’s so much more learning to come. 

"I’ve enjoyed every minute and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved so far.

"It’s not in our hands but the fact we’ve taken it to final game is a real positive.

"We’re gong into this game really ready to give it our very best, get the result we need and see what happens.

"That’s all we’ve done all season, we’ve taken it game by game, focused on that, not looked too far down the line.

"There’s been a hell of a lot of learning, too much to mention but I’ve throughly enjoyed it so far."


Ellie Roebuck injury

No Ellie Roebuck in the starting XI today, she turned her ankle in the gym during the week and will be missing today and next week

She remains tied with Chelsea stopper Ann-Katrin Berger for the most clean sheets in the league this season (11)

Rest assured Karima will step up to the plate in her absence, but here's hoping for a speedy recovery 🤞


Caroline Oatway has ventured south for this one...

"From a gloriously warm and sunny morning here in Dagenham, the Heavens have just opened - much to the surprise of the journalists in attendance in the Chigwell Construction Stadium press box.

"As the sole Mancunian representative, I'm currently receiving the blame. Apparently 'it doesn't rain in London' and 'you must have brought it with you.'

"Erm, sorry guys...? But if you're looking for a lucky omens as a City fan ahead of today's game, I'd say rain is definitely a good one!"


Three changes

Gareth Taylor makes three changes from our 4-0 win over Birmingham last week, with Karima Taieb starting between the sticks.

Lucy Bronze, Esme Morgan, Alex Greenwood and Georgia Stanway start across the back four, with Keira Walsh screening in front.

Caroline Weir and Sam Mewis complete the midfield three, while Janine Beckie and Lauren Hemp start on the flanks.

Ellen White, standing in as skipper once again, starts at the sharp end.

A typically strong starting XI for City, with a potent blend of youth and experience - here’s hoping we can get the job done!


Gareth Taylor on West Ham 🗣

"Olli Harder's done a really good job in settling the club, settling the league position. It was a bit of a mini league going on at the bottom for who was going to drop out.

"Those situations are never easy, especially someone coming in from a different angle.

"Even in the game when we played each other, even though we were successful in that game with scoring and breaking through, they still came out and engaged us and made it difficult

"We don’t expect it to be any different today. Knowing his personality a little bit, they’ll want to be successful and finish the season off properly, and rightly so."


Form Guide 🧐

City are enjoying a superb run of form and come into the game having won 13 of our previous 14 league games, whilst we have also scored the most goals in the WSL.

Ninth placed West Ham have won one of their last five games in all competitions, but have failed to score in any of their previous four outings.

Taylor’s side boast a 100% record over the Hammers, recording wins in each of our last five meetings.


Stat attack 📋

-Should Keira Walsh feature, she would make her 100th Barclays FA Women's Super League appearance.

-Two City goals would mark our 300th in the Barclays FA Women's Super League.

Ellie Roebuck is currently tied with Chelsea's Ann-Katrin Berger on 11 league clean sheets in the race for the Golden Glove.

- Chloe Kelly is tied with Arsenal’s Katie McCabe in the top assist makers chart.


Win or bust

To put it simply: City must triumph and hope Chelsea drop points to hold any chance of lifting the title.

A Chelsea defeat and City victory would see us clinch our second league crown by a single point.

However, a Chelsea draw could also be enough - it would require a City victory by four clear goals for us to overtake the Londoners on goal difference.

Gareth Taylor has always stressed the importance of ‘controlling the controllables’, so the players will have their sights set on picking up a win... and by as many goals as possible.


How to tune in 📺

The game will be broadcast live on the FA Player and BT Sport Extra in the UK.

If you can’t tune in, you can follow all the action as it unfolds on our dedicated matchday Twitter account: @ManCityWomen and right here on our Matchday Centre.

We’ll be following every twist and turn, trying to simultaneously let you know what’s happening while also nervously watching through our fingers…


Good afternoon 👋

…And how are your nerves?

Welcome to what promises to be a thrilling finale to the Barclays FA Women's Super League season, where City could still claim our first title in five years.

In its simplest form, a win combined with a Chelsea defeat at home to Reading would see us finish as champions, but the team will be focused entirely on keeping up our side of the bargain.

We’ll have all the latest team news on the way in around half an hour, plus plenty of pre-match material for you to peruse at your leisure before kick-off at 14:30 (UK).

Other games that day

  • Manchester United Women2
    Everton Women0
  • Chelsea Women5
    Reading Women0
  • Birmingham City Women0
    Tottenham Hotspur Women1
  • Arsenal Women0
    Aston Villa Women0
  • Brighton and Hove Albion Women3
    Bristol City Women1

As it stood

P GD Pts
1 Chelsea Women 22 +59 57
3 Arsenal Women 22 +48 48
4 Manchester United 22 +24 47
5 Everton Women 22 +9 32
6 Brighton and Hove Albion Women 22 -20 27
7 Reading Women 22 -16 24
8 Tottenham Hotspur Women 22 -23 20
9 West Ham United Women 22 -18 15
10 Aston Villa Women 22 -32 15
11 Birmingham City Women 22 -29 14
12 Bristol City Women 22 -54 12
Link To Full Table