West Ham United Ladies missed the chance to keep pace with FA Womens Premier League South leaders Millwall Lionesses, as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Essex rivals Colchester United.   

At a sodden Ship Lane, the contest was to hinge on three penalties, as Julia Setford's side had to battle from a goal down to claim a share of the spoils.

The struggling U's broke the deadlock just five minutes prior to the interval, as Karissa Rodney went to ground in the area. Maegan Doyle was charged with the responsibility from the spot and duly slotted home.

West Ham, however, were to reply before the half was out, in the fifth minute of additional time, no less. A right-wing cross struck the arm of Megan Lawler, enabling Becky Merritt to level matters, as she slammed her spot-kick off the underside of the bar to notch her ninth of the campaign.

In unrelenting rain, the Hammers were handed the chance to complete the turnaround, as Lindsey Morgan was impeded by Megan Jiggins. Merritt again stepped up from 12 yards, but this time her strike came crashing back off the bar.

It was to prove a costly miss, as West Ham would ultimately have to settle for the point, a second draw in as many weeks. The frustrating stalemate leaves Setford's side in fourth, some ten points behind frontrunners Millwall, albeit with two games in hand.

Next up for the Ladies is a trip to Tadley Cavella for Sunday's crunch clash with second-placed Reading, the first of back-to-back meetings with the Berkshire club.

West Bromwich Albion