A hat-trick from West Ham United striker Martha Thomas saw The Irons run out 5-0 winners against Reading at The Madejski Stadium this afternoon.
Reading were forced into changes amongst their back-line with Emma Mitchell out with an injury and Molly Bartrip suspended due to her accumulation of yellow cards. This showed, as The Royals were unable to build on their defiant defensive display against Manchester City, falling to three quick-fire goals from Kenza Dali, Katerina Svitkova and Thomas.
West Ham United had an astonishing opening few minutes. It started with winger Dali’s attempted cross which flew over the head of home keeper Grace Moloney and found the back of the net via the post after six minutes. The Irons didn’t want to defend a narrow lead and three minutes later, Dali’s cross found Svitkova who headed it in at the back post. Continuing with their early biltz of the Reading defence, The Irons forced an impressive save out of Moloney but the ball fell to Thomas on the line who gratefully tapped home to make it 3-0 inside 11 minutes.
Reading began to edge into the game after 20 minutes with Rachel Rowe pumping a cross towards midfielder Fara Williams whose powerful header went just wide of the post.
The Royals loanee Jess Fishlock was having a nightmare farewell but she attempted to change the tide of the game as she had a pop shot from 20 yards which bounced in-front of West Ham United keeper Courtney Brosnan, however, she comfortably claimed the ball.
This short upturn in intensity from Reading wasn’t enough to stop an impressive Irons display with right-back Cecilie Redisch and striker Thomas performing some lovely interplay to leave the latter with an open net to bag her second goal of the afternoon. Eight minutes later, Thomas completed her hat-trick by chipping Moloney on the half-volley.
In the second half, Scotland international Thomas continued to cause mayhem for the Reading defence. She was played in behind The Royals back five and once again attempted to chip Moloney who this time denied the forward.
Similar to the first half, Reading had a strong 10-minute spell with defender Rowe coming close through a curling shot which went just wide of the right-hand post. Rowe continued to be The Royals’ shining light. As the ball went out, captain Natasha Harding was fasted to react, quickly finding Rowe, who had her attempted shot pushed over the bar by Irons keeper Brosnan.
From here, the game quietened down with Williams coming closest when she struck the crossbar with her free-kick from just outside the box.
Reading go into the international break still awaiting their first win at home since the opening day against Aston Villa while West Ham United have now recorded their first league win under manager Olli Harder and they move off the bottom of the Barclays FA Womens Super League table.