West Ham United Ladies got their FA Women's Premier League Southern Division season underway with a narrow 1-0 defeat at Millwall Lionesses on Sunday.
A physical local derby played in sweltering conditions was won by a 62nd-minute goal by the Lions' Emma Whitter.
Millwall created the better chances during the opening half, but goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne remained largely untroubled as the hosts' shooting lacked accuracy. When they did find a way through, Lindsey Morgan was able to clear off the line.
West Ham, meanwhile, played on the break with Sam Rowland and April Bowers both letting fly with long-range efforts. The half ended with Wayne making an assured catch to keep out a header from former Hammers player Nat Grafton.
Into the second 45 minutes and the Hammers began to threaten, with Millwall goalkeeper Francesca Strugnell being put under pressure by a succession of corners.
At the other end, centre-backs Rosey Sullivan and Danica Revell appeared to have everything under control. However, just when it looked like West Ham might turn their ascendancy into an opening goal, Whitter ran through the Hammers defence from wide on the right before lobbing the advancing Wayne.
Unsurprisingly, Julia Setford's side immediately set about trying to fashion an equaliser, but efforts from Kelley Blanchflower, Becky Merritt and Stacey Little were unrewarded and West Ham slipped to defeat.
Setford's team will attempt to chalk up their first points of the season when they host Brighton and Hove Albion Ladies at Thurrock FC on Sunday, kick-off 2pm
West Ham Ladies: Toni-Anne Wayne, Emma Cansell, Vicky King, Danica Revell, Rosey Sullivan, Lindsey Morgan, Stacey Little, April Bowers, Becky Merritt, Kelley Blanchflower, Sam Rowland
Subs used: Kerry Stimson, Ruby Southgate