Lionesses edge past Hammers
The Lionesses are through to the Semi-Finals of the London Cup after a deserved 2-0 win over West Ham United Ladies Reserves, courtesy of two second-half goals from Dionne Lennon and Shauni Griffiths.
The recent bad weather had taken its toll on the pitch, but despite that the hosts began in firm control of the tie; keeping control of possession and forcing the visitors onto the back foot with spells of slick and precise passing.
As early as the third minute, Ciara Sherwood’s neat shot was saved smartly by West Ham’s keeper before an impressive run from Abigail Igbavboia ended with the Lioness putting the bill just inches wide.
Griffiths, in good form once more, was causing her marker all sorts of problems with her ability to cut inside and distribute forward passes, and the keeper had to be on her toes once more to smother another through ball, this time aimed at Sherwood, who herself came close to the opener with a dipping 30-yard free-kick.
The Lionesses, now in complete control of the game, did eventually put the ball in the net through Natalie Grafton’s tap in, but the referee pulled play back for an earlier foul.
The interval didn’t disrupt the general pattern of play and the busy visiting keeper had to be at her best to deny Alicia Ferguson from distance moments into the second-half.
Josie Elliot, who’s fast become somewhat of a ‘super sub’, replaced Igbavboia in the 55th minute and she was instantly in the thick of the action. After a clever run, Elliot found herself in the box but as she shaped to shoot she was brought down; the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Lennon from 12-yards whose initial effort was superbly saved, but the captain was quickest to the rebound and slotted home and the second time of asking.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of West Ham, and 10 minutes later The Lionesses grabbed an all-important second goal through Shauni Griffiths - and what an incredible strike it was as she beat four players before slotting the ball elegantly into the bottom corner to secure Cup progression.
Team: Gibbs, Mackie, Lennon, Davies, Grafton, Manning (Stormer, 62mins), Ferguson, Sherwood, Griffiths, Payne (Colepio, 55mins), Igbavboia (Elliot, 55mins).