A good run in every cup competition will help fire the West Ham Ladies up the FA Women’s Premier League South. That is the view of centre back Sophie Reed who has impressed so far this season after breaking into the first team.
The 20-year-old has been with the club since she was 11 and has flourished since she was given her league debut against Lewes in September.
Speaking exclusively to Blowing Bubbles, the London Metropolitan University student said: “We’ve got KIKK United in the cup this weekend which is our last game this year so we are hoping to get a good win before our Christmas break.
“We are taking all our cup competitions very seriously this season because cup games are great to play in. It’s just something about them that gets me and the others excited.
“In many cup games we go into them without knowing the opposition very well which I always like and I think some players are more relaxed and play more freely in cup games. I honestly believe if we can have a good run in all cup competitions then these performances will rub off on our league form and hopefully we can start climbing the league.”
Reed spoke to Blowing Bubbles after the Ladies comfortably beat Cheshum United 3-1 last weekend with the goals coming from Cherrelle Albert and captain Bex Merritt.
The victory ended a nine game winless which stretched back to the last time the Hammers played Cheshum back in September. They currently sit ninth in the league - five points above Keynsham Town at the bottom.
Sophie, who has made 11 appearances so far this season, continued: “I didn’t expect to have played so many games for the first team this season but the manager has come in and given me the chance to play in a lot of games. I think I’ve been doing all right. At first I was really nervous but with every game I’ve played, I’ve felt my confidence grow.
"Everyone in the squad has also been brilliant at making me feel welcome. They are all so friendly and that has helped to make the step up easier for me. The senior players in the team are really approachable and have been great at helping me out and giving advice.”
She added: “We have been getting results that on paper don’t look too good but we have been playing well. But we are working hard as a team and we’ve just been unlucky not to get the results we deserve.
“We are trying to put things right and everyone has been training hard even though it hasn’t really been happening for us this season so far.
“Everyone also makes the effort of picking each other up and we all try to go again as a team. We need to keep going because there are a lot more games to play this season.”
The Ladies were also boosted by the return of Danica Revell and Stacey Little from injury and both impressed last weekend. It was, however, the last game for influential goalkeeper Toni Anne-Wayne who has joined Brighton & Hove Albion Ladies.
Sophie continued: “Danica is such a brilliant defender. We are a similar age but she has a lot more experience than me and I know I will learn so much from her.
“But while she has been out Hayley [West] and I have been playing together and I think we have started to get a really good understanding of how we both play and I’m looking forward to building on this relationship.
“As for TAW [Toni Anne Wayne], I’m gutted she is leaving because she is such a fantastic ‘keeper. She has been brilliant at helping me week in, week out and she was always there for me.”
She added: “I joined West Ham when I was 11 and I’ve gone all the way through the ranks. This is the club I’ve always wanted to play for because I’m a West Ham fan. I can still remember now how massive it was for me when I had a trial and then got asked to play for the club.
“My goals for the rest of the season now are to just keep learning and improving and hopefully keep my place in the team.”
The West Ham Ladies play their home games at Thurrock FC, Ship Lane, Aveley, Essex, EM19 1YN. They play Charlton on January 5 at home with kick off at 2pm.
By David Blackmore
West Ham Ladies
The latest news, views and opinion from West Ham United Ladies by Blowing Bubbles editor David Blackmore.