Manchester United Women

West Ham 1-1 Man Utd: Player ratings as Hammers snatch late equaliser

Jamie Spencer
West Ham scored a late equaliser to secure a WSL draw against Man Utd
West Ham scored a late equaliser to secure a WSL draw against Man Utd / Jacques Feeney/GettyImages

Manchester United’s Champions League hopes took a hit on Wednesday night as West Ham stung them in stoppage time to claim a 1-1 draw in the WSL in east London.

Ella Toone had given Marc Skinner’s side what looked to be the winner with a scrappy goal soon after half-time, but Hammers boss Olli Harder had Grace Fisk to thank for a stoppage time equaliser. The visitors were ultimately punished for failing to take their chances.

Toone had the first clear sight of goal just a couple of minutes into the game but failed to make proper contact at the near post in the six-yard box.

The rain began to fall heavily and Hammers defenders Gilly Flaherty and Hawa Cissoko needed to be on their toes in separate moments to make a last-ditch tackles to prevent Leah Galton and Toone from getting in on goal – Cissoko was atoning for her own short back-pass.

After the visitors’ bright start had faded, instructions from the side-line to pick up the pace in the closing stages of the first half were heeded. It was Grace Fisk’s turn to come to West Ham’s aid with an inch-perfect tackle on Galton pouncing on a rebound from a Mackenzie Arnold save.

Martha Thomas even hit the bar with a speculative deep cross that threatened to wrong-foot Arnold, while the goalkeeper was in action to also push away a Jackie Groenen effort.

The late absence of Maria Thorisdottir from the United XI had forced a reshuffle that saw midfielder Katie Zelem repurposed as an emergency centre-back amid other absences. But by half-time, West Ham still hadn’t made use of that as a potential weakness.

Immediately the other side of half-time, Russo stung the palms of Arnold and United continued to get into good positions. At that stage, it looked as though it would be a case of when rather than if the breakthrough for the away side would come and it did when Toone improvised with an overhead kick in the six-yard box after West Ham failed to deal with a corner.

West Ham had a rare chance to get back into it not long after, with Tameka Yallop scooping a shot over the bar from a decent position. The Australian also had a headed opportunity comfortably saved by Mary Earps as the Hammers threatened to build a head of steam.

The final quarter of the game looked to be fizzling out until a late West Ham flurry eventually saw Fisk rise highest at a corner to cannon a powerful effort off the inside of the post and in. There was still time for United to try and respond but their own succession of corners came to nothing.

West Ham ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Mackenzie Arnold (GK) - 8/10 - Not always convincing but made a number of saves that stopped United opening up a big lead, proving very important to the final result.

Hawa Cissoko (CB) - 6/10 - Looked worried by Galton's pace a few times. Had to react to her own mistake to prevent a goal. Recoveries were good.

Gilly Flaherty (CB) - 6/10 - Made a big early tackle to keep the visitors off the score-sheet straight away. Unfortunate the ball deflected off her when United finally broke the deadlock.

Grace Fisk (CB) - 7/10 - Also had to make a major goal-saving intervention in the closing stages of the first half. Competed well on the whole and popped up as the hero with a late equaliser.

2. Midfielders & wing-backs

Kate Longhurst (RWB) - 5/10 - Worked hard as you would expect, but was punished when she failed to properly clear seconds before Toone scored.

Abbey-Leigh Stringer (CM) - 5/10 - Given a tough task trying to patrol in front of the back four. Sacrificed late on for more attacking impetus.

Dagny Brynjarsdottir (CM) - 4/10 - Pressed the visitors with little reward.

Yui Hasegawa (CM) - 5/10 - Decent in the tackle and neat on the ball, seeing more of it than her teammates, but unable to do enough with it.

Katerina Svitkova (LWB) - 7/10 - Improved as the game progressed and got forward more in the second half. Her corner delivery for the equaliser was also of great quality.

3. Forwards

Adriana Leon, Diane Caldwell
West Ham's Adriana Leon didn't get much change out of Man Utd / Jacques Feeney/GettyImages

Adriana Leon (ST) - 4/10 - Tried to stretch things with her pace but opportunities with the ball were generally lacking.

Tameka Yallop (ST) - 4/10 - Too quiet for large parts of the game. Should probably have done better with a decent chance at the hour mark.

4. Substitutes

Lisa Evans (LW) - 6/10 - Made a couple of threatening darts.

Man Utd player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Mary Earps (GK) - 6/10 - Didn't have much to do beyond a handful of fairly routine saves. The equaliser flashed past her.

Hannah Blundell (RB) - 6/10 - Swapped flanks with Batlle from their usual roles. Always got forward to support attacks.

Diane Caldwell (CB) - 6/10 - Comfortable until the final stages.

Katie Zelem (CB) - 6/10 - Had to adapt to an alien role but coped with it pretty well on the whole and was oddly never directly targeted,

Ona Batlle (LB) - 6/10 - Won the battle on her flank. Tackled well.

6. Midfielders

Vilde Boe Risa (CM) - 6/10 - Had to try and fill Zelem's shoes due to the reshuffle and showcased a decent range of passing.

Jackie Groenen (CM) - 7/10 - Played the box-to-box role well.

Ella Toone (AM) - 7/10 - Saw an early sight of goal go begging and again tasked with pulling the creative strings in the 'number 10' role. Improvised to score with an overhead kick.

7. Forwards

Martha Thomas (RW) - 6/10 - Hit the bar towards the end of the first half with a speculative long-range cross.

Alessia Russo (ST) - 7/10 - Moved all across the front to try and create chances and knitted attacks together. No goals of her own this time.

Leah Galton (LW) - 7/10 - A livewire on the left flank from the start. Had a role in the breakthrough by keeping the ball alive in the box.

8. Substitutes

Jade Moore (CM) - 6/10 - First WSL appearance in two years after spells in the United States and Spain. Made an early statement with a strong tackle.

Ivan Ferreira Fuso (ST) - 5/10 - Not much of an impact.

Kirsty Hanson (RW) - N/A

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