West Ham United Ladies and Lewes were forced to share the spoils after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Ship Lane on Sunday.

Lewes recorded a 3-0 win in this fixture last season and the Hammers seemed keen to avenge that defeat, coming close in the tenth minute after a thunderous Cherelle Albert effort bounced off the crossbar and out for a corner.

Albert continued to lead the line well for the Hammers and acted as a focal point for the attack. She showed considerable skill when she skipped past two challenges to put in a dangerous cross after 21 minutes, but nobody was able to connect and it drifted out for a goal kick.

The Hammers started playing further up the pitch as the Lewes team began to frustrate their opponents, with another great cross by Kelly Blanchflower failing to find a target.

The Rookettes were still dangerous on the counter and could have stolen the lead just before the break, but Naomi Cole skied her shot over after good work from Kirsty Spice to get the cross away.

The second half kicked-off and almost immediately, Lewes were ahead. A corner was drifted in perfectly for Cole to head home unmarked, with 51 minutes of the game played.

After the goal, the game became increasingly scrappy and devoid of chances, as the Hammers laboured to create opportunities that were few and far between, despite keen running from Blanchflower and Albert in particular.

As the last ten minutes beckoned, West Ham edged ever closer to making a breakthrough with three close offside decisions going Lewes way.

They finally managed to breach the Rookettes backline after a clever run by Albert, who managed to dribble to the byline and cut inside, releasing Blanchflower. The cross was perfectly weighted and although the keeper managed to get a hand to the shot, she could only watch as it trickled lazily into the net.

With the game all square, the last ten minutes were back and forth as both teams refused to play for the draw. Lewes came closest to breaking the deadlock at the death, after a slip by Lily Mellors at the back let Kirsty Spice in to run at goal, but her drilled effort came back off the post and away from danger.

West Ham United Ladies: Wayne, Houlihan, Sorenson (Skeillen 66), Reed, Masters, Little, Crinean (Mellors 59), Bowers, Albert, Merritt, Blanchflower

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