Disrespectful? Chichester and Selsey upset by West Ham playing goalkeeper in midfield

Chichester and Selsey Ladies were upset with West Ham after they brought on a goalkeeper and played her in midfield during their FA Cup tie.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 2:20 pm
Chi and Selsey take part in the pre-match minute's silence / Picture: Sheena Booker
Chi and Selsey take part in the pre-match minute's silence / Picture: Sheena Booker

The Hammers won 11-0 but many felt playing a sub goalie as an outfield player in the latter stages was disrespectful to Chi and Selsey.

The defeat dashed Chi and Selsey's hopes of a dream tie against Manchester City Women in the next round - but the Selsey FC-based team's bosses said they were proud of the players for what they had achieved in beating Kent County and Leyton Orient in the Cup after months out of action.

Chi and Selsey director and secretary Caz Henry-Evans said West Ham's decision to bring a keeper - Mackenzie Arnold - on in midifled was something they as a club found difficult to take - and it was made worse by some people's comments on social media, which they said were 'unhelpful and outright rude to our players and everyone associated to our club and totally uncalled for'.

The West Ham Women Twitter account tweeted when she came on: "No gloves for @MaccaArnold1 today as she slots into central midfield..."

Henry-Evans said: “It is important for clubs to remember where they came from to get where they are now. Some clubs used to be in our league (Tier 3) until they were given a huge financial backing from either their men’s club or the FA.

"If all clubs had the financial backing like this then this huge gap in women’s football wouldn’t be so obvious. It is hard for a club like ours to financially make every season and when the team who have worked so hard see clubs doing things like this to them, it is not helping the situation.

"I personally would like to see the FA and Women’s Football Board really think about all other teams, not just those with ‘big names’ and clubs with lots of money.

Action from the tie, which West Ham won 11-0 / Picture: Sheena Booker

"The whole club are extremely proud of our manager, coaches, players and volunteers for all their hard work this season, previous seasons and all future seasons ahead. We are looking forward to the new league season and another great FA Cup run.”

Chi and Selsey won sympathy over the incident from many on Twitter, including Crawley Wasps player Tash Stephens, who said: "Disrespectful. Maybe some teams should focus how they’re doing in their own leagues, rather than disrespect a local, self funded club, attempting to build and grow the game the right way."

The 11-0 scoreline at Dagenham and Redbridge will suggest West Ham gave Chichester and Selsey a ‘hammering’ but that wasn’t the case.

The West Ham team featured many international players and was a strong starting 11 and West Ham got off to a quick start when the referee adjudged Amber Howden to have handled in the area, something she seemed to be the only one to see.

Chi held their own for long spells / Picture: Sheena Booker

Although Issy Foster in the Chichester goal went the right way and was close to it, the spot kick went in and West Ham were 1-0 up after two minutes.

This affected Chi and their game plan. Emily Van Egmond was a constant threat and her height and stature proved too strong for the Chichester defence as she scored four first half goals, with some great headers along the way to give West Ham a substantial lead.

Chichester were working hard and closing down the ball, but West Ham were in confident mood after a few quick goals and the difference in fitness levels showed.

Sarah Saunders up front for Chichester held the ball up well and Chichester had a threat from set pieces but unable to test the keeper. It was 7-0 at the break.

West Ham were comfortable winners in the end / Picture: Sheena Booker

Manager Sadie Blakely asked her team at half-time to continue to compete and enjoy the game and improve on their first half performance. Fifteen minutes had gone in the second half before Chichester were unlucky to concede again when a shot cannoned off the post and off a Chichester player into the goal.

Another strange decision saw a penalty awarded and although again Foster got her hands to it, the strike was too strong to keep out. Foster was having an incredible game and pulled off a fantastic save to deny West Ham a tenth and out for a corner.

It was 10 soon after however before Chichester found themselves on a break down the West Ham right. With great link up play between the three centre midfielders, Ariana Fleischman, Megan Fox and Gemma Simmonds, the ball into the box met by Tash Wild and found the bottom corner…only for the linesman to raise his flag and rule that Simmonds was offside in the build-up.

West Ham finished the game off with an 11th. The scoreline was maybe a bit harsh in terms of the commitment and work ethic of Chichester and Selsey on the day but everyone at the club and their supporters are proud of the achievement this season.

West Ham now play Man City - although mustn't concentrate only on the Cup as they are languishing in 10th place in the Women's Super League, having conceded 36 goals in their 17 games to sit just two points ahead of bottom side Aston Villa.

Henry-Evans said of Chichester and Selsey: "For a bunch of players who get to train twice a week, have had four months off because of Covid-19 and have to pay to play the game they love, we are extremely proud.

"The fact the players have had two games recently after so long out and played against a professional side also showed the difference in women’s football. A club getting their day against a super league side is what the FA Cup is about, but it also highlighted the difference in the women’s football pyramid and maybe something the FA should look into. This game wasn’t the only one to be high scoring."