West Ham Women scored in second half stoppage time to earn a point against Manchester United in the WSL.
The point earned by Grace Fisk’s 93rd minute goal takes the Hammers total this season to 24, a record for the club since they joined the Women’s Super League (WSL).
Unsurprisingly, the driving rain had a big impact on the match at the Chigwell Construction Stadium as both teams battled against the elements throughout. Ella Toone put Manchester United ahead in the 54th minute with a clever finish after West Ham failed to clear a corner. The Hammers seemed determined to get something out of the match and were finally rewarded for their efforts when Fisk headed in Katerina Svitkova’s corner via the post in injury time.
West Ham Manager, Olli Harder, spoke to whufc.com about his pride at the team setting a club record points total in the WSL.
"“All the credit goes to my staff and the players. The players today represented themselves in a manner befitting the West Ham shirt, myself and how I want them to represent themselves. The points are just an accumulation of all the good work that’s been going on throughout the season with my coaching staff and the players.”"
Olli Harder made four changes to the team that won away at Birmingham City on Sunday afternoon. Mackenzie Arnold, Grace Fisk, Tameka Yallop and Yui Hasegawa started in place of Anna Leat, Lucy Parker, Emma Snerle and Claudia Walker. It was the first match back for Fisk who had missed the last two games with injury.
Manchester United Women Head Coach, Marc Skinner, made one change to his team as Vilde Boe Risa was named in the visitor’s starting 11 in place of Maria Thorisdottir.
The first chance of the match fell to Ella Toone after some determined play by Alessia Russo. Russo received the ball on the West Ham left and successfully held off the challenge of Gilly Flaherty before turning and playing the ball through to Leah Galton. Her cross seemed certain to be touched in by Toone but she couldn’t quite sort her feet out in time as the ball hit her right knee and fell harmlessly in front of Mackenzie Arnold in the West Ham goal.
Toone was involved again when her shot from outside the box skimmed across the sodden pitch towards the bottom corner. Arnold fell low to her right to pull off a good save. Fisk did well to stop Galton having a tap in as the Manchester United attacker followed up on the rebound.
As the first half drew to a close, the wet weather almost caused Arnold to let an overhit cross from Toone squirm through her hands and into the goal. Arnold had the crossbar to thank for saving her from embarrassment as the ball hit the woodwork and fell safely back in front of the West Ham goalkeeper. The cross came about as a result of more good play from Russo in the middle of the pitch. The half time whistle may have come at a good time for Olli Harder’s team as Manchester United’s breakthrough star was beginning to have more and more influence on proceedings.