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Preview: West Ham United v Blues

The game is Blues' 15th league match of the season.

BCFC

Blues Women travel to West Ham United in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League on Wednesday evening.

The trip to the Chigwell Construction Stadium is Blues’ first away game of the month after a trio of home fixtures against Manchester City, Arsenal and Everton played at St. George’s Park.

And Carla Ward will be aiming for her side to bounce back from a testing run when they face the Hammers, with a win able to pull the team further clear of the relegation zone.

On their last away day, they picked up a well-deserved point at Walton Hall Park – home of the Toffees.

West Ham come into the midweek clash on the back of a defeat to reigning Champions Chelsea and in need of the points to kickstart their own survival bid.

THE OPPOSITION:

West Ham will host Blues under different management than when the two sides met earlier in the season. Back in October, Matt Beard was in the opposition dugout, but he departed the following month by mutual consent after guiding the club through its inaugural seasons in the FAWSL and to the 2019 Women’s FA Cup Final.

He was replaced by New Zealand-born Olli Harder, with the 34-year-old switching Norway, where he worked as head of football development and first-team coach at Klepp IL, for the English capital. It was when in Scandinavia that Harder led the Toppserien outfit clear of a relegation battle and subsequently to fourth in 2017, twice being nominated for Norway’s coach of the year award.

Across the white line, the Hammers have not claimed a win in the league since mid-December and, virtue of Bristol City’s win over Reading last week, have slipped to the bottom of the table. Their only win this side of Christmas came in the Conti Cup over Durham, before losing to Chelsea in the last four.

Harder will be without Adriana Leon, Lois Joel, Mackenzie Arnold and Leanne Kiernan for the meeting with Blues. They can, however, call upon the services of Emily van Egmond who made permanent her transfer from Orlando Pride in the recent January window.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues were beaten by Everton in their most recent outing. Toffees goalkeeper Sandy MacIver avoided a red card following an industrial challenge on Claudia Walker in the opening stages and Everton - with their full quota intact - recovered from this shaky start brought on by Blues pressure to lead by two at the break. Alisha Lehmann added to Jill Scott’s opener before Claire Emslie and Simone Magill struck in the second-half.

West Ham were also beaten at home in their latest FAWSL game. Facing league leaders Chelsea, the Iron faced an uphill battle when Sam Kerr scored after just seven minutes. And the points were wrapped up shortly after the interval when Beth England headed home.

WE MEET AGAIN:

Blues 1 West Ham 2, Sunday 08 November 2020

Blues will be out for revenge after losing narrowly to West Ham earlier in the season.

Ward’s players led as early as the ninth minute when Mollie Green assisted Walker who finished coolly.

However, the striker scored an unfortunate goal on the cusp of half-time and after the break, the visitors found a winner.

Supplied by Rachel Daly, Van Egmond rose highest to head in at the far post which proved decisive.

RECENT MEETINGS:

FAWSL 08 Nov 2020 – Blues 1 West Ham United 2

FAWSL 15 Sep 2019 – West Ham United 1 Blues 0

FAWSL 21 Apr 2019 – West Ham United 1 Blues 2

FAWSL 18 Nov 2018 – Blues 3 West Ham United 0

WATCH LIVE:

The game will be streamed live on the FA Player, kick-off is at 7.30pm.

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee: Stacey Pearson

Assistant Referees: Christopher Myatt and Luigi Lungarella

Fourth Official: Louise Saunders

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