West Ham United Women forward Rosie Kmita was thrilled to have scored her first-ever professional goal after an “amazing” first few months in the professional game, since the Hammers became professionals in the summer.
Kmita scored late for Matt Beard’s team at Rush Green as they secured their first-ever win in the Women’s Super League at the third time of trying, over bottom-of-the-table Yeovil Town Ladies.
The cherry on the cake for the young attacker was that it was also her debut in the WSL, marking the occasion with a memorable and pivotal winning goal for the Irons, after an opening draw with Reading and a narrow defeat away at reigning champions Arsenal.
Her spectacular late strike, which we will touch on in more detail later, gave the East Londoners a 2-1 victory, following fellow youngster Leane Keirnan putting them ahead in Romford, before Ellie Mason was allowed to equalise for the visitors.
In the wake of the game in which she scored the winning after coming on as a second-half substitute, Kmita had the following to say to West Ham’s official website, WHUFC.com, about a special day and what the three points meant to her and her teammates.
“It’s an unbelievable atmosphere in the dressing room right now, we’re all extremely happy and we deserve it.
“We’ve all worked so hard since pre-season, so to get the three points was important to us on Sunday.
“I don’t think it was our best performance against Yeovil and every player will hold their hands up and say that, but good teams still grind out the three points when they don’t have the best performance. That was very important for us.
“It was nice for me to get on and do that for the girls. They put their trust in you every day so I was really pleased to do that for the team.
“I could have gone on one-v-one with the keeper, but I thought no, it’s better to just strike it and get my foot through it, and it went in.
“It’s been an amazing couple of months. We’ve been learning every day because we’re a brand new team that’s been put together from the start, but the way we’ve integrated with each other since the first day of pre-season has been amazing and I think that shows on the pitch.”
As for the goal itself, Kmita’s first pro notch arrived in the 79th minute at Rush Green, training base and home ground of the Hammers’ women’s team and also first-team training base for the men’s first-team.
With the score evenly poised at 1-1 with just over ten minutes to play, after the aforementioned Keirnan and Mason strikes, the latter of which occured just a minute earlier, the home team started an attack.
At this point, they were eager to restore their one-goal advantage and not left the whiff of their first WSL triumph drift away from their reach, and a flick on from boyhood Hammer Kate Longhurst found Jane Ross.
In turn, the Scottish International’s cushion header fell into the path of German International Julia Simic, who spotted the run in-behind of the bright Kmita and picked her out.
Allowing the ball to bounce, she used the time she had to arrow a left-footed first-time volley at goal that crept into the bottom right-hand corner of the net, making the score 2-1 and raising the roof on Rush Green Stadium.
Beard’s girls were able to hold onto the lead for the last ten or so minutes in East London and thus, could finally celebrate their first victory in the WSL, just over a week after they played their first game in the highest tier of women’s football in England.
The 2-1 win on home soil lifted them up to mid-table in the newly-restructured WSL 1, seventh place out of the 11 teams, with four points from their three matches, a draw, a loss and a win, thus far.
The Hammers would have been glad and relieved to have beaten one of the teams tipped to fight relegation this season and the current bottom-place side, given the run of fixtures that now lies ahead of them.
Next up, a week on Sunday, Kmita and her comrades must travel to giants of English football Manchester City, before hosting the mite of Liverpool, but who would write them off getting two unlikely results, on the back of the confidence the Hammers’ No.12 and the rest of their team now have?