Women: Hashtag United 3-1 West Ham Utd

  • by Richard Johnson
  • Thursday, 4th August 2022

A youthful, inexperienced West Ham side fell to a first defeat of pre-season on Wednesday evening, going down 3–1 at Parkside Stadium to a very useful Hashtag United.

Featuring several academy players and three unnamed trialists, the Irons were unable to find their rhythm on a frustrating evening for Paul Konchesky’s team.

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Jess Ziu made her first appearance

Irish attacker Jess Ziu made her full debut for the Hammers and she proved to be one of the standout performers of the game, controlling play and driving the young Irons forward at every opportunity.

Hennessey and Flannery look to have formed a strong understanding, showing several moments of intricate play, as the hosts initially struggled to find a foothold in the game.

And some clever attacking play down the left hand side of the pitch almost saw West Ham take an early lead; our triallist striker only managing to turn a great cross onto the upright.

Just 15 minutes into the match, play was stopped after what looked like a serious injury to one of the West Ham trialists. The unnamed player received a round of applause as she was stretchered from the pitch.

And the game ebbed and flowed as neither side was able to take any real control of the play.

All that changed in the 37th minute, when a West Ham pass was blocked in the middle of the park and Hashtag surged forwards. Kelly Welthal fed Emma Samways on the edge of the box and the attacker kept on weaving, before getting off a shot.

With Hillyerd beaten, the ball bounced off the upright and fell straight back to Samways, who made no mistake with the follow up.

Half-Time Hashtag 1 – 0 West Ham

Konchesky made three substitutions at the start of the second half, seeing Husseyin, Collyer and Chitolie-Porter replace Brosnan, Boughton and Trialist B. But the Hammers struggled to get past the halfway line, as time and time again passes were cut out by the marauding Tags midfield.

And on 55 minutes, Sasha Adamson bundled the ball over Hillyerd's line to make it 2–0 to the hosts.

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Eight minutes later and it was essentially game over for the visitors as an underplayed back pass was intercepted by Adamson again, who clipped an audacious lob over the despairing Hillyerd to make it 3 – 0 to the Tags.

The substitutions were coming thick and fast now as the game began to reach it’s natural conclusion. But the Irons fans would have something to cheer in the 81st minute as Chitolie-Porter showed some deft touches and skilfully managed to fire off a shot past the Hashtag goalkeeper to add some respectability to the score line.

Academy Manager Dan Milner said: “It was a great opportunity for our players to get out on the pitch and mix with some first-team players.

It's actually the first minutes that our academy players have had since returning for pre-season, so it was nice for them to be back out on the grass.

"We had players making their West Ham debut, we had players playing in their first ever match against older players - and for some it was their first ever match in front of a crowd!

"It was a priceless experience for them all, and I'm sure they will take many things from the game.

"They've played alongside a number of first-team players tonight, so they've seen the level that they need to get to if they want to be a fixture of the first-team squad.

"It's been a really great workout for them. It's about making sure that players know that there's a pathway into the first team. We're going to have a couple of players that will be between academy and first team this season, and that's exciting.

"It's a good time for these youngsters to be at the football club, because there a clear ethos here of being able to promote from within if we have the right calibre of player that's ready for first-team action," he continued.

"It's also such a massive experience for them. You've got Katie O'Hanlon who's been training with Jimmy Walker, who's got countless games in the Football League and has played for the club. The players are being given details by Paul Konchesky, it's all massive for them.

"So hopefully one or two of them can really take something from tonight when we're back in as a group on Friday. Our WSL Academy team will have quite a young squad this season, but I saw enough tonight to show that this group has something.

"We've only really had about five or six sessions since we returned for pre-season, so I'm looking forward to a couple more matches and seeing the girls grow after today's experience."

West Ham Utd: Hillyerd, Garrad, Jarvis, Brosnan, Trialist A, Trialist B, Flannery, Boughton, Ziu, Hennessy, Trialist C

Subs: O’Hanlon, Moore, Huseyin, Ademiluyi, Kaur Bath, Walsh, Collyer, Chitole-Porter

The Hammers will face Charlton Athletic in their next pre-season match in 11 days time.

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