Bristol City 1-2 West Ham: Asseyi earns crucial win

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Viviane Asseyi’s second-half winner earned West Ham all three points against Bristol City in their Women’s Super League basement battle at Ashton Gate.

Honoka Hayashi had fired the Hammers into a 13th-minute lead, only for Robins top-scorer Amalie Thestrup to level matters three minutes after the interval as the bottom two sides went toe to toe.

But the fast-raiding Asseyi outstripped City’s defense and coolly prodded home what turned out to be the winner seven minutes later as the visitors boosted their hopes of staving off relegation.

Having started the day level with the bottom-of-the-table hosts, the Hammers moved three points clear of their rivals, who have won only once all season and face an uphill battle to retain their top-flight status.

In an assertive mood against a team they beat in November, City was fast out of the blocks and should have taken an early lead when Megan Connolly’s corner found Sille Struck in space but the Danish midfielder’s header went over the bar.

How the Robins must have regretted not making more of that opportunity when West Ham took the lead from their first meaningful attack.

 

City only half-cleared a cross from the left and midfielder Hayashi was allowed time and space to pick her spot from 18 yards, beating keeper Shae Yanez with a shot that crept inside the right post.

With Australia international Katrina Gorry pulling the strings from the center of midfield, the Hammers produced the more cohesive football and dominated possession without quite managing to fashion any further clear-cut openings.

Gorry was off-target from a distance, while Riko Ueki failed to trouble Yanez with a weak shot.

On a rare foray into the opposition’s 18-yard box, City appealed for a penalty when Mari Ward went down under a challenge from Emma Harries, but the referee was perfectly placed to make the call.

Abi Harrison then sent an angled shot too high as the home side, without a single on-target effort in the first half, desperately sought a creative spark.

 

City manager Lauren Smith sent on Ffion Morgan for Ward at the start of the second half and the substitute made an immediate impact, surging past two defenders, forcing her way to the byline, and dragging the ball back across goal for Thestrup to restore parity from close range.

West Ham summoned a positive response, however, and restored their advantage seven minutes later, Asseyi racing onto a pass from Jess Ziu and beating Yanez in a one-on-one situation following a swift counter-attack.

Although City refused to give up, they were unable to break down a stubborn Hammers defense, Jamie-Lee Napier testing keeper Mackenzie Arnold with their only effort of note as the visitors held out.

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