Ladies secure first league win of the season
QPR LADIES came from behind to celebrate a first FA Women’s Premier League win of the season at West Ham United on Sunday.
The hosts made the breakthrough after half an hour at Thurrock, but second-half strikes from captain Elly Maggs and leading goalscorer Jenny Critchley handed Martino Chevannes’ side all three points.
Reserves striker Rae Roberts was forced to don the gloves for Rangers, but was relatively untroubled against the Hammers – who had Hannah Wheeler sent off late on – as Rangers signed off for Christmas on a high.
West Ham opened the scoring on 36 minutes. After defender Jade Dempster was caught in possession, a long-range effort was too hot to handle for stand in goalkeeper Roberts.
After trailing at the break, Maggs levelled the scores on the hour mark after she slid in to turn a corner into the bottom right-hand corner.
Critchley then found the winner with 15 minutes remaining after being first to react to a loose ball in the box. Lively winger Elizabeth O’Callaghan’s shot was only palmed into the path of the onrushing Critchley who beat her defender to notch her second goal against the Hammers this season.
An uneventful tie sprang into life at the end of the first half when a feisty Hammers side started to test the referee’s patience with a series of tough tackles. Ever-present right back Micaela Lopes was forced off at the end of the first half after a high challenge was missed by the officials leading to a nasty looking lower leg injury.
Two minutes into the second half and the referee turned to his cards as O’Callaghan took a flailing arm to the face in the midst of continuing protests from the West Ham players. Then, when Wheeler went in with a late challenge on Rangers substitute Sara Lopez, the referee again stepped in – this time issuing the West Ham centre back with a straight red card on the 80 minute-mark.
Juliette Denny went close with a free-kick late on, but it mattered not as Rangers celebrated an important three points in their battle to avoid the drop.
The Ladies remain bottom of the FAWPL but draw level on points with the Hammers, who have played two games more going into the New Year. A Christmas break is next up for the Ladies with their next game coming on Sunday 8th January.
Meanwhile the Reserves made it double delight as Neil Bailey oversaw his side defeat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Silver Jubilee Park.
Victory moves the Reserves up to third position in the Reserve Southern Division, eight points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
QPR: Roberts, Lopes (Peacock 44), Engels, Dempster, Denny, Cooper, Maggs, Netschova (Lopez 61), Critchley, E. O’Callaghan, Butts.
Goals: Maggs 60, Critchley 75.