WSL: Leicester City v West Ham
West Ham earn an important 2-1 win over Leicester putting the Foxes at risk of relegation
West Ham United WFC
22 May 2023
Leicester’s 2-1 defeat to West Ham meant they missed out on securing safety in the Women’s Super League and the relegation place will be decided on the final day of the season. A Sophie Howard own goal and a Dagny Brynjarsdottir penalty had given the Hammers a two goal lead before Hannah Cain scored a late spot kick for Leicester. The Foxes also had Ruby Mace sent off in second half stoppage time after she picked up two bookings. The win was West Ham’s first in the league since December.
There were over 4,000 supporters at the King Power Stadium with many waving flags as the sides came out. There was a slight delay just after the match started due to the sprinklers at one end of the pitch starting and not wanting to stop for a couple of minutes. In the 5th minute, Remy Siemsen had the first opportunity of the match for Leicester but shot straight at the goalkeeper. Cain shot over for the hosts four minutes later.
West Ham took the lead against the run of play in the 18th minute when Anouk Denton’s cross from the left side into the penalty area took a deflection off Howard with the ball looping over Janina Leitzig and into the net.
Some nice Leicester play finished with CJ Bott’s strike being tipped wide by Mackenzie Arnold. From the corner, Arnold stopped a low strike from Cain with her feet. These saves followed some good ones the Australian international goalkeeper made in the Hammers defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday evening.
Around the half-hour mark, a Mace cross was headed towards goal by Cain but Arnold got down to save and push the ball away. No Leicester attacker could get on the end of a dangerous ball across the penalty area from Courtney Nevin.
Viviane Asseyi was allowed to run towards the Leicester penalty area before sending a shot at goal which Leitzig pushed around the post. Amber Tysiak got a couple of vital blocks in in the penalty area to stop the home side equalising four minutes before half time. Ashleigh Plumptre then headed over a corner when unmarked, before Siemsen headed wide.
The visitors had a chance when they broke quickly during the six minutes of first half injury time but Amalie Thestrup shot over. Deeper into stoppage time, Leicester captain Aileen Whelan saw her shot from just outside the area saved.
Tysak stopped an attack from the home side with a last ditch tackle three minutes into the second half. Mace volleyed over in the 52nd minute after the ball had only been cleared as far as her.
West Ham were awarded a penalty in the 59th minute after Howard handled a cross in the area.
Brynjarsdottir stepped up to take the penalty and sent the ball low into the net to double the Hammers lead.
Shortly after conceding the second goal, Whelan saw an effort from six-yards hit the crossbar before the ball was cleared behind for a corner. Bott tried a long-distance chip in the 66th minute but Arnold saved this easily. Leicester were creating lots of opportunities but not being clinical enough to finish them.
Following a corner, Siemsen saw an effort cleared off the line before Howard blasted the ball over. Second half substitute Shannon O’Brien sliced another Leicester chance wide in the 75th minute.
West Ham were mainly attacking on the break but support was often slow to get up with play meaning Leicester defenders could get back and the attacks broke down. The Hammers slow play, players needing treatment, and some of the officials decisions were increasingly frustrating the home supporters as the match went on.
Nine minutes of added time were signalled at the end of the second half. Mace committed a second bookable offence and was sent off in the fourth minute of them.
The hosts were awarded a penalty of their own five minutes later when Whelan was fouled by Arnold. Cain scored from 12-yards for what to turned out to be a very late consolation goal for the Foxes. The final whistle was blown shortly after and West Ham had secured their first three points of 2023.
Leicester will be guaranteed of staying up if they win away at Brighton on Saturday. If not, they are relying on Reading not beating Chelsea. West Ham take on Tottenham Hotspur at home in their final match.
Leicester City (4-1-2-1-2): Leitzig, Bott (Goodwin 74’), Howard, Plumptre, Nevin, Mace, Tierney, Whelan (c), Jones, Siemsen (O’Brien 60’), Cain
Unused substitutes: Lambourne, Pike, Purfield, Levell, Smith, Robinson, Reavill
Goal – Cain 90’+9 (pen)
Booked – Mace
Sent Off - Mace
West Ham United (3-4-1-2): Arnold, Fisk, Parker, Tysiak (Cissoko 73’), Shimizu, Brynjarsdottir (c), Hayashi, Denton (Smith 84’), Snerle (Longhurst 73’), Asseyi (Ademiluyi 90’+6), Thestrup (Evans 73’)
Unused substitutes: Atkinson, Filis, Cooke
Goals – Howard 18’ (og), Brynjarsdottir 60’ (pen)
Booked – Parker, Fisk, Longhurst
Referee – Lisa Benn
Attendance – 4,023