Point apiece for ladies

Barnet Ladies 1-1 West Ham United Ladies

West Ham United Ladies had to settle for a hard-fought point at Barnet on Wednesday night - but will be frustrated at not leaving with all three after dominating the match.

Sam Pittuck scored the opening goal midway through the first half with a smart finish and the visitors had plenty of chances to put the game to bed. The missed chances were to prove costly as Barnet equalised with just 15 minutes to go.

The visitors started the brighter and captain Lindsey Morgan went close with a header from a corner and then Tracey Duxbury was unlucky to see her goalbound shot deflected wide by a last-ditch tackle. Pittuck was next to go close as her first effort was saved by the keeper and then shortly after her placed drive went narrowly wide of the post.

With Carly Roache absent, manager Tony Marshall was forced to pair Jade Dempster and Rosy Sullivan at centre-back and the pair performed admirably in dealing with several high balls. The 16-year-old Alex Keown started at right-back and was involved from the off with several strong tackles as well as getting forward well to support attacks.

Under the floodlights in north London, Morgan was continuing her impressive start to the season with three of four pwerful breaks from midfield. The only thing lacking was a bit of luck as several through-balls were just slightly too far away from Duxbury.

United took a deserved lead a few minutes later as a great through ball from Sullivan was dummied by Nat Grafton and fell perfectly for Pittuck. She took one touch, looked up and fnished with a crisp drive from the edge of the area.

Barnet persisted with their direct approach and launched several long balls towards the visitors' area. One such ball nearly paid dividend as their centre-forward flicked a header on to the outside of Paris Smith's post.

West Ham United continued to control the game after the break and looked destined to leave with all three points until the Barnet equaliser in the 75th minute. Another long ball towards the United area hit Dempster and cruelly fell into the path of an opposing centre-forward who made no mistake in firing past Smith.

The goal was harsh on the visiting side and they came back strongly in search of a winner. An intense spell of action in the final ten minutes followed that somehow saw six United efforts on goal come and go. Eventually it was to be in vain as the side had to settle for their fifth draw of the season.

Marshall said the fact he was disappointed by only getting a point shows how much his side have improved. He said: "If this had been last season we would have been delighted with the result but we have come here and been the better side, created more and defended with real authority.

"With an average age of just over 17 for our back five we can't have too many negative thoughts. We created some really good chances through our sheer pace of movement. The senior players are really helping the youngsters blend in especially which adds a further dimension to our game and really bodes well for our development."

The Ladies are next in action as they face the long trip to Cornwall to face Truro City Ladies on Sunday.

West Ham United Ladies: Paris Smith, Jess Barling, Rosy Sullivan, Jade Dempster, Alex Keown, Clare Rogers, Nat Grafton, Lindsey Morgan (Capt), Sam Pittuck, Zoe Marshall, Tracey Duxbury
Subs: Jay Balckie, Jo Wasahlo, Leah Cowan