Kerr hits four as West Ham are humiliated 7-0 in Conti Cup semi-final
By Paul Lagan at the Chigwell Construction Stadium
West Ham 0 v Chelsea 7
Conti Cup semi-final
Sam Kerr destroyed West Ham, hitting four goals in a 7-0 thumping in the semi-final of the Conti Cup this evening.
Goals from Fran Kirby, Lauren James, and Guro Reiten demonstrated their different class in terms of ability but also in mentality - the Hammers simply did not compete at any level in the first 45 minutes.
By then, they were 4-0 down at the Chigwell Construction Stadium
As semi-finals go this was one-way traffic from the first whistle and the Blues will face Arsenal in the final at Selhurst Park on March 6.
It took just four minutes and effectively Chelsea’s first attack to score when a freekick by Reiten on the left was stabbed in by Kerr.
A sharp counter-attack on eight minutes saw a four against two but Millie Bright was equal to the task and made a last-ditch tackle to clear the ball from goal for a corner.
But on 11 minutes it was a break of epic proportions and goal number two for the visitors. Set up and designed by the imcomprable Lauren James.
She seemed to be playing it safe by running back towards her own goal on the right.
Normally a player would tap the ball onto a defender, but James is made of different gravy. Instead, she turned and cut into the middle of the pitch, a lovely, one-two with Fran Kirby resulted in a weighted defence-splitting pass that curled round centre-back Hawa Cissoko into the path of Kirby who continued her run. She outpaced the defender before cooly shooting home a curling left-footer past out-running Mackenzie Arnold.
Number three came from the boot of Kerr on 23 minutes when she collected the ball, turned, and 20 yards out hit a humdinger of a shot that sailed high and wide of Arnold and into the back of her net.
Arnold denied Erin Cuthbert a goal on 34 minutes when Kirby played the Scotland midfielder in. But this time the goalkeeper got to the ball and parried it away.
Kirby’s night came to a premature end on 43 minutes when she pulled up with a muscle issue after a run.
She half-thought she would continue but after walking along the side line, opted to stay off the pitch. She was replaced by Jenena Cankovic.
Kirby still had the class to sign a young boy’s programme as she headed looking very downhearted as she went to the tunnel but her participation in the Arnold Clark Cup for England must now be a real doubt.
Seconds later Kerr slotted home from a tight angle to make it her hat-trick and Chelsea’s fourth.
Three minutes into the restart and Kerr almost had her fourth. Another quick breakaway saw Reiten place the ball perfectly for in-running Kerr. Her goal-bound right-footer was tipped over the crossbar by Arnold.
The Hammers must have had a rollicking from boss Paul Konchesky at half-time, as they showed more aggression.
But class told and James smashed in number five on 55 minutes.
Number six came a couple of minutes later when Kerr finished off a neat one-two with Eve Perisset and headed home from close range, totally unmarked.
The Chelsea faifthful were in seventh heaven on 65 minutes, when Reiten got in on the act and slotted home from just inside the Hammers penalty area.
A slew of substitutions followed which gave the remainder of the game a ragged feel about it. And that was reflected in the play, with neither side managing the clinical finish to alter the scoreline.
Teams: West Ham, Arnold, Smith, Shimizu, Stringer, Snerle, Brynjarsdottir, Filis, Hayashi, Fisk, Cissoko, Asseyi
Subs: Hillyerd, Evans, Atkinson, Longhurst, Thestrup, Parker, Denton Cooke, Houssein
Chelsea: Berger, Bright, Ingle, James, Reiten, Kirby, Perisset, Eriksson, Kerr, Charles, Cuthbert
Subs: Musovic, Carter, Leupolz, Flemming, Mjelde, Buchanan, Abdullina, Cankovic
Referee: Louise Sanders