HOW IT HAPPENED
A hat-trick from Danielle van de Donk helped us extend our perfect start to the season as we beat West Ham United 4-3 at Meadow Park.
Despite a promising early spell of possession, it was the visitors who opened the scoring through a clinical counter-attack.
Alisha Lehmann burst down the left wing and delivered an inch-perfect cross to the back post, where Kate Longhurst had the simple task of heading home from close range.
We equalised less than three minutes later through van de Donk, who finished from inside the six-yard box following a goalmouth scramble - but the visitors would score once more.
Longhurst pounced on a loose ball inside the area and found the top corner for her second goal of the afternoon, following a stunning recovery save from Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
Jordan Nobbs was then played through on goal and found herself one on one with Rebecca Spencer, but the Hammers shotstopper was equal to her driven effort.
We continued to apply pressure as we pushed for an equaliser - and with less than four minutes remaining of the first half, we found an opening. Emma Mitchell’s corner delivery caused havoc inside the box, and van de Donk was there to fire home from close range.
The opening exchanges of the second half proved to be a hard-fought battle in the middle of the park, until Vivianne Miedema found a yard of space inside the box on the hour mark. The Netherlands international turned her marker and fired at goal, but her effort was pushed behind for a corner.
Shortly after, van de Donk was once again the first to react inside the box, as she completed hat-trick with another close-range strike. The 27-year-old has now scored 20 goals for the club since joining in November 2015.
We continued to play on the front foot, and in the 73rd minute we extended our advantage through Kim Little, who charged at the Hammers defence, shifted the ball on to her right foot and found the bottom left corner.
Claire Rafferty pulled one back for the visitors with four minutes remaining on the clock, but our defence stood strong to secure all three points.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN
We’ve maintained our place at the top of the WSL table, having picked up three wins from our first three fixtures.
We now turn our attention to our Women’s Super League clash with Chelsea on Sunday, October 14.
The game will take place at Kingsmeadow with kick-off at 2pm (UK time).
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