West Ham United finally got off the mark in the Premier League with a hard-fought 3-2 victory at C&K Basildon in an ill-tempered match that ended up as a nine-a-side game.
Four players saw red in the second clash in a fortnight between the two near-neighbours, with memories of their earlier encounter, in which West Ham captain Stacey Little saw red, still fresh.
Charlotte Long led the exodus when she was dismissed in under 10 minutes, and West Ham took advantage, going ahead through debutant Giulia Ferrandi.
But newly promoted Basildon, who won two of their first four games in the division – including the match at West Ham earlier this month – struck back to lead through goals from Amy Nash and Maegen Doyle.
The sides – and scores – were level when Emma Sherwood equalised and Ferrandi saw red before Sherwood scored her second from the penalty spot and Kayleigh Xidhas and Doyle both joined the red-card exodus.
— Giulia Ferrandi (@Giu1792) September 23, 2015
It was new manager Marc Nurse’s first league win since succeeding Julian Dicks, and he paid tribute to the way his team performed, although he was less complimentary about his team’s opponents.
West Ham climb out of the bottom two and have games in hand of almost every other team in the division. Basildon remain in mid-table in an extremely competitive league, having already made their mark in their new surroundings.
The clubs meet for a third time this season, back on C&K’s turf, on October 4.
Eight-goal Cardiff go second
Cardiff City moved back into second place with an 8-2 demolition of Forest Green Rovers.
Kerry Bartlett helped herself to a hat-trick as the Welsh side overwhelmed their opponents, who have now conceded 13 goals in their last two games.
Cardiff’s other goals came from Michelle Green, Naomi Clipston, Laura Williams, Kelly Isaac and Chloe Lloyd.
Kayanne Castro-Alencar pulled one back for Forest Green to make it 3-1, but Cardiff’s first-half onslaught brought them seven goals, and the game was long gone by then.
Cardiff City 7-1 FGR. I’d take a draw now 😳
— Forest Green R LFC (@FGRLFC) September 24, 2015
Castro-Alencar scored her second late in the game, as Forest Green “drew” the second half.
Cardiff have cut Brighton’s lead to four points, and like Charlton Athletic – the team they leap-frogged – they have a game in hand of the leaders.
Cardiff host Charlton on Sunday.
Swindon hit one over the eight to remain top of the town
Swindon Town went nine points clear at the top of the Premier League’s South West Division 1 after beating local rivals Swindon Spitfires 9-2.
Newly promoted Spitfires, who are struggling at the opposite end of the league, became only the second team to score twice against the division’s runaway leaders, but inevitably, Town had plenty to spare as they took their goal tally to 32 from seven league games.
Top scorer Beth Westlake led the way with a hat-trick and Abby Picton scored two. The other Town goals came from Alice Smith, Megan Attenborough, Ellie Maynard and Sarah Uzzell.
Katie Wadey and Beth Turner scored for the Spitfires, who – for all their difficulties this season – should take some comfort from scoring twice in a match for the first time – against a team who had conceded only six goals in six games before last night.
Haughton does it again as Chichester pay the penalty
Chichester City missed the chance to move into second place, losing 1-0 at Southampton Saints.
Sabrina Morriss scored the only goal midway through the second half to earn Saints their third victory of the season and end Chichester’s unbeaten start to the campaign.
But goalkeeper Hannah Haughton was the hero, saving Lauren Cheshire’s first-half penalty – the second time she has denied Chichester – and Cheshire – this season, having also kept out her spot-kick in their League Cup clash last month.
Liam Greenfield’s team must pick themselves up for their biggest game of the season so far on Sunday when they host Swindon Town.
• Milton Keynes Dons moved back into third place in South East Division 1 after defeating Cambridge United 2-1. Norwich City and Lowestoft Town drew 2-2.