Ladies pegged back by Lewes

West Ham United Ladies drew 2-2 with Lewes on Sunday

West Ham United Ladies let slip a two goal lead as they drew 2-2 at Lewes Ladies on Sunday afternoon.

Despite only travelling with twelve players after picking up injuries and suspensions in their last few matches, Marc Nurse’s side pushed themselves ahead in the first half when former Millwall Lionesses striker Paige Anderson-James finished well.

Anderson-James was involved in the Hammers doubling their advantage by setting up Italian forward Romina Pinna to fire into the back of the net. The lead wasn’t to last though, as Tash Wells dragged the hosts back into the game, before Julia Louis-Joseph’s long range free-kick stole a share of the points for Lewes in the final minute of the game.

Manager Nurse named six changes to the starting eleven that lost 8-1 away to Charlton Athletic a week earlier. Jessica Parlane returned from a short loan at FA Women’s Super League side Millwall to replace Indian international Aditi Chauhan, whilst Danielle Sillitoe, Carly Eagles, Chelsea Hinz, Shirvae Edwards and Gemma Abela also missed out.

Anderson-James came into the team alongside Pinna and Whitney Locke in attack, with Danni Ritson, Pauline Adeyemo, Erika Campesi and first team debutant Natalie Strange getting vital minutes from the start.

In the early stages of the game, Lewes came out strong looking to inflict some further damage on Nurse’s side after their disappointing 8-1 defeat to the Addicks at Sporting Club Thamesmead, but Paige Walder, Danni Lane and Kate McIntyre failed to beat Parlane in the Hammers goal.

West Ham soon weathered the storm though and started pushing their hosts back towards their own goal whilst also showing some skill at times.

It took just 22 minutes for the visitors to take the lead when a mistake from former Arsenal goalkeeper Holly Augustus, who trained with the Hammers before joining Lewes on loan for the season, was punished by Anderson-James as she netted her first competitive goal of the season.

Then before the break, Nurse’s side capitalised on some self-confessed dreadful defendin’ from the home side, allowing Pinna to dance through the Lewes defence and fire home from 20 yards.

Into the second half and the Hammers continued their spirited defensive, yet dangerous attacking approach that had them in a two goal lead at the break, which frustrated their East Sussex hosts.

Lewes were still the side who were having the majority of the chances on goal though. Lane and Walder were causing problems in and around the Hammers penalty area, but still Parlane and the West Ham defence held strong.

If Nurse thought his injury problems were an issue before kick-off, it was made even worse when young defender Hannah Wheeler was unable to continue midway through the second half, meaning Nurse’s only substitute, goalkeeper Chauhan, put on an outfield shirt and covered for her team in the middle of midfield.

West Ham’s resilient defending only lasted until the final ten minutes though when Lewes got one foot back into the tie. After great build-up play by Sian Heather and Claire Capon, defender Wells was well placed to smash home through a crowded penalty area.

Having only picked up one victory from their six league fixtures before Sunday, Nurse noticed how important it was for his side to hold onto three well earned points, with his side taking up an even more defensive formation for the final few minutes.

Unfortunately though, the Hammers failed to hold on as Lewes netted a last minute equaliser. Adeyemo conceded a free-kick on the far left, which was spectacularly finished from distance by Louis-Joseph despite the best efforts of Parlane to keep the ball out.The result takes West Ham up one place to 10th in the table, with four points from their seven league fixtures this season.

The Hammers will do battle with Lewes Ladies in the return fixture on Sunday 25 October, with kick-off at AFC Hornchurch scheduled for 2pm. Admission is priced at £5 for adults and just £1 for children.

Ladies: Parlane, Bottom (c), Wheeler (Chauhan), Ritson, Strange, Miller, Campesi, Pinna, Locke, Anderson-James, Adeyemo.