Martha Thomas hat-trick helps lift West Ham off foot of WSL table

Reading 0 West Ham 5

West Ham women manager Olli Harder said the performance against Reading had been long overdue as a first-half demolition job helped lift the east London side off the bottom of the Women’s Super League.

Martha Thomas was the pick of the bunch, netting a hat-trick as part of an assured team display where all goals were scored before the 38th minute.

Harder was adamant that recent performances have demonstrated an ability to escape relegation, and that his striker will be boosted by a confident display.

He said “I thought this type of result and performance was coming, and I’m glad it happened today. It will create confidence.

“It was a fantastic performance from Martha, as a striker it’s been difficult for her in the last few matches, not scoring. She’s been creating good chances for herself and today she managed to put three in the back of the net.”

Kenza Dali opened what turned out to be the floodgates after seven minutes, when she intercepted the ball and delivered a cross into the area from over 30 yards, evading the static goalkeeper Grace Moloney.

The visitors doubled their lead two minutes later, when Kate Longhurst found Katerina Svitkova unmarked in the area, the Czech international directing a simple header goalwards.

Reading were unable to cope with the pace of the West Ham forward line, and were further undone a minute later when Thomas found space in the area to lift her effort over Moloney.

The Scottish international netted her second of the contest before the half hour mark, after excellent link up play with Cecilie Kvamme on the counter attack.

West Ham completed the rout eight minutes before the interval, after Thomas ran onto a Dali through ball, and was able to lift over Moloney for her hat-trick.

Rachael Rowe forced West Ham keeper Courtney Brosnan to tip over in the second half, while Fara Williams hit the bar, but Reading manager Kelly Chambers were made to pay for their sluggish start.

She said “I don’t think we came out with the fight and desire that I asked. West Ham came to press us more aggressively but we kept playing into their hands, and we caused our own problems in the first half.”

Match details

Reading (4-3-3): Moloney; Rowe, Leine, Williams, Woodham; James, Fishlock, Cooper; Carter, Eikeland (Harries 46), Harding. 
Subs: Jeon, Nayler, Flores, Roberts, Childerhouse. 
Booked: Cooper. 
 

West Ham United (5-4-1): Brosnan;  Kvamme (Pacheco 77), Flaherty, Fisk, Cissoko, Svitkova; Dali, Longhurst (Denton 90), Brynjarsdottir, van Egmond, Thomas (Mustafa 81). 
Subs: Ramsey, Barker Booked: Flaherty, Longhurst.
Goals: Dali (7), Svitkova (10), Thomas (11 , 29 , 37).

Referee: K Dowle.

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