Reigning Women’s Super League champions Arsenal got the new season off to a winning start start as they narrowly beat a spirited West Ham.
Beth Mead put Arsenal ahead with a fine 18-yard strike into the bottom corner.
Debutant Jill Roord made it 2-0 as she fired the ball in first time from Mead’s clever lay-off.
But the Hammers hit back through Martha Thomas’ header while France striker Kenza Dali twice hit the woodwork in a tense final 10 minutes.
The Gunners were without last season’s top scorer Vivianne Miedema, who was nursing a slight hamstring injury, with Mead occupying her role at the point of the Arsenal attack.
Having had the better of the first half Arsenal’s Danielle van de Donk swept the ball over the bar from five yards out seconds after the restart as Arsenal, who now face Fiorentina in the Champions League on Thursday, looked as though they would dominate.
But West Ham got back into the game after Thomas scored and could have been level by the end.
Dali had a free-kick strike the post after deflecting off the wall with 12 minutes to go, while a mix-up between Katie McCabe and goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger saw the Austrian pick up the Irish defender’s pass and Dali struck the crossbar from the resulting indirect free-kick.
The match also saw the return of Jordan Nobbs as the England and Arsenal midfielder came on in the second half for her first competitive game since suffering a serious knee ligament injury last November which forced her to miss this summer’s World Cup.
She almost marked her appearance with a goal when her effort from the edge of the box drifted just wide.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery expects midfielder Mesut Ozil to stay at the club – but says Nacho Monreal could leave.
Ozil, 30, who has not featured yet this season due to safety concerns and illness, has been heavily linked with a move away from Emirates Stadium.
Real Sociedad are interested in signing defender Monreal, 33, and Emery believes a transfer is a “possibility”.
But he said: “We are not speaking about the possibility for Mesut to leave.”
The transfer window for Premier League arrivals closed on 8 August but it is open across Europe until 2 September.
“We finish here our transfer window and in Europe it’s going to finish on Monday,” added Emery.
“We cannot sign another player, but we have the possibility [for players] to leave in the next four days. Yes, [Monreal] is one possibility.”
The Gunners take on Tottenham in the North London derby on Sunday and German Ozil could be in contention for the first time.
“This week he is physically better and he is training and doing normal work with us,” said Emery. “He is going to be closer to us and he will be available on Sunday,”