Goals in each half from Georgia Stanway and Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw clinched another crucial three points to close the gap on our cross-town rivals in the FA Women's Super League table.
The triumph marked Gareth Taylor’s 50th in charge and drew his side level on points with third-placed United – if only temporarily with the Reds playing on Sunday.
There was more good news at the Chigwell Construction Stadium, as Chloe Kelly made a welcome return to action with a second half cameo following her ACL injury.
Riding the crest of a wave which had seen City victorious in 15 of our 17 prior to kick-off, the visitors came flying out of the blocks on Saturday morning.
Hayley Raso carved the game’s first opportunity within the first two minutes, latching onto Lucy Bronze’s lofted long ball, but her heavy touch took the ball wide of Mackenzie Arnold and the chance was lost.
Bronze – operating in a more attacking role – was then involved again, playing through to Shaw whose effort was well-blocked by the Hammers goalkeeper.
History almost repeated itself when Lauren Hemp raced clear down the left flank in a mirror image of the goal she scored in the 2019 FA Cup Final against West Ham at Wembley. Although she beat the onrushing Arnold to the ball outside the box, her low first-time effort dragged wide on this occasion.
City would not have to wait long though to open the scoring, as Stanway netted her sixth goal in seven league games against the London outfit and her tenth of the season.
Hemp was the architect, dispossessing Hawa Cissoko before finding Stanway, who played a one-two with Raso and drilled expertly into the far corner to hand the away side an eighth-minute lead.
With City continuing to get in behind the hosts’ defence – Bronze and Alex Greenwood’s pinpoint passes a valuable threat – Shaw had chances to extend the lead with one effort blocked by Gilly Flaherty and the other trickling wide, while Stanway also went close to doubling her tally.
Meanwhile, West Ham threatened with dangerous deliveries from the left, though Adriana Leon’s header off-target proved the closest they came to a first-half equaliser.
The Hammers almost found a quickfire leveller after the restart as substitute Claudia Walker headed Lucy Parker’s cross wide. The forward then had the ball in the back of the net after slotting past Ellie Roebuck but had strayed into an offside position before taking ownership of the ball from Leon.
Weir then stung the palms of Arnold with a trademark piledrive but from the resulting corner, City would make it two as Shaw powered home the Scot's delivery with a bullet header for her 14th goal of the season.
Laura Coombs then fired straight at Arnold and was denied what would have been a certain assist when Flaherty hacked away her delivery before Bunny could pounce, after Bronze had done the same to thwart an attempted Leon cross at the other end.
Though West Ham pressed for a route back into the game - Emma Snerle curling wide and Parker's looping effort saved - City held on to maintain our excellent winning run.
Hemp nearly made it three in the final minute of normal time but two would be enough to claim the win, as Taylor's side triumphed for the eighth successive game in all competitions with five straight clean sheets and 21 goals scored.
What it means
City move level on points with third-placed United, who have played one game more when they face Brighton and Hove Albion at noon on Sunday.
Both Manchester Clubs stand on 35 points after 18 games - seven points above fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
How we lined up...
Taylor made one change to the starting XI that cruised to a second successive 4-0 win over Everton last time out, as Shaw replaced Ellen White upfront.
Roebuck took her place in goal, shielded by a backline of Demi Stokes, Greenwood, Alanna Kennedy and Bronze.
Keira Walsh protected the back four in defensive midfield, employed behind Caroline Weir and Stanway. Lauren Hemp and Raso occupied the flanks with Shaw leading the line at the sharp end of the pitch.
Kelly was named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.
CITY XI | Roebuck, Stokes, Greenwood (C), Kennedy, Bronze, Walsh, Weir (Angeldahl 82'), Stanway (Coombs 59'), Hemp, Raso (Kelly 59'), Shaw (White 76')
SUBS | Keating, Blakstad, Park, Mace
WEST HAM | Arnold. Flaherty (C), Evans (Snerle 76'), Longhurst (Wyne 82'), Yallop (Walker 46'), Hasegawa, Parker, Leon, Fisk, Cissoko, Brynjarsdottir
SUBS | Stringer, Filis, Leat, Joel, Garrad, Houssein
Player of the Match: Alex Greenwood
Taking the captain's armband, Greenwood truly led by example with a typically solid performance - her consistency being one of the highlights of a season for the defender, who has featured in every single game, starting all bar one.
Contributing in both defence and attack, she has continued the impressive form which earned February’s PFA Vertu Motors Fans’ Player of the Month award and a nomination for March's FA WSL Player of the Month.
● Gareth Taylor earned his 50th win as City manager in just his 70th game in charge.
● City have won all three of our FA WSL away games to date against West Ham, winning 3-1 in January 2019, 1-0 in May 2021 and 2-0 in this encounter.
● We have won each of our last five league matches, keeping a clean sheet in each game. We have not conceded a league goal in more than eight hours of football, while Saturday's victory ensured our longest winning run in the competition since a 12-game stretch between December 2020 and April 2021.
● Georgia Stanway has six goals and two assists in just seven appearances against West Ham in the league, with her eight combined goal involvements against them being her most against a single side in the competition.
● Caroline Weir has scored three times and assisted three times in her seven WSL games for City against West Ham. Against no other side in the competition has she been involved in more goals for the Club.
The squad break for international duty before returning for another trip to West Ham - this time in the Women's FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday 16 April (12:15).
Our next home game is our visit of Leicester City on Sunday 24 April at 14:00. Our postponed fixture against Birmingham is still to be confirmed.
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