Colchester United Ladies 2-2 West Ham United Ladies

West Ham United had to settle for a point at Colchester United after a 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon.

An all-action first 45 minutes saw Jess Barling give the visitors the lead with a fine strike midway through the first half. Colchester equalised soon after but Sam Pittuck quickly put United back in front only for Colchester to level once more with a long=range strike.

The ladies travelled to their local rivals hoping to maintain their impressive run of form that has seen them remain at the top end of the FA Tesco Women's Premier League South.

The visitors started well and saw most of the ball in the opening 20 minutes with chances falling to Rosey Sullivan, Tracey Duxbury and Clare Rogers. Despite the trio of opportunities going begging they continued to press and got their reward when another attack resulted in the opening goal. Lindsey Morgan ran down the right and crossed high into the box, Duxbury rushed on to the ball and just failed to connect but Barling was on hand to follow up and powered a superb left-footed volley into the corner from twelve yards.

The lead was not to last for long though as Colchester were level soon after through their first attack of the game. A driven ball into the box was cleverly finished from five yards by a Colchester striker.

The visitors reacted instantly and just minutes later a through-ball by Jade Dempster was flicked on by Duxbury for Pittuck and the midfielder raced past the last defender and finished with a low strike. The hosts scored again soon after to ensure the sides went in level at half-time as a midfielder cut inside and blasted a 25-yard shot that dipped under the crossbar.

The second half was less eventful with the ball spending a lot of time in the air. West Ham United coach Tony Marshall reacted by bringing on Leah Cowan for her full debut and she so nearly scored a memorable debut goal. Cowan first sent a header straight at the opposition goalkeeper, and then fired over after being put in by Duxbury.

The hosts could have won the match with a last-minute penalty after the referee ruled that a ball into the box had hit Dempster's arm. Paris Smith, who had not really had a save to make in the second half, watched on as the Colchester forward put the ball over the bar. In the end a draw was probably a fair result as both sides worked tirelessly in tough conditions.

Manager Tony Marshall was full of praise for the opposition. "I think Colchester know us pretty well and devised a game plan which worked and stopped us getting the ball down and playing," he said. "We are still are not taking our chances and killing games off, which is frustrating. It also highlighted some tactical issues which are certainly coming across more as teams get to know how we play."

The Ladies are next in action when they host top of the table Keynsham Town next Sunday.

West Ham United Ladies: Paris Smith, Rosey Sullivan, Jess Barling, Carly Roache, Lindsey Morgan (c), Sam Pittuck, Zoe Marshal, Nat Grafton, Tracey Duxbury, Clare Rogers
Subs: Leah Cowan, Jay Blackie, Jay Wasahlo