Hammers hit back to earn Robins point
West Ham United 1-1 Bristol City
Barclays FA Women’s Super League
Kateřina Svitková struck a second half equaliser as West Ham United salvaged a point against Bristol City at a wintry Dagenham & Redbridge Stadium on Sunday.
The Hammers were in danger of falling to defeat when the Robins moved in front thanks to Emily van Egmond’s unfortunate early own goal, but the hosts regrouped to claw their way back into the contest.
The visitors twice hit the woodwork as they sought a second goal, but the Hammers held them at bay to earn the share of the spoils which keeps them above the Robins in the Women’s Super League table.
The Hammers were punished for a slow start by conceding the opening goal with just seven minutes on the clock.
It was a scrappy moment for the hosts, as a corner was delivered into their box from the left hand side, with the ball ending up in the back of the net via a deflection off the unfortunate Emily van Egmond.
The Robins, desperate for the points at the foot of the table, kept their foot on the gas and had shouts for a penalty when Ebony Salmon went down in the box under a challenge from Laura Vetterlein. Referee Sarah Garratt viewed it as a simple coming together and waved play on.
As the snow began to settle on the Victoria Road pitch, Bristol City continued to press and went so close to a second on the half hour when Salmon again burst into the box, this time got her shot away, but watched it roll against the far post and to safety.
West Ham were trying to exploit the space in behind City’s high line, but found it tough going in the opening period, with only van Egmond’s header from Adriana Leon’s 20th minute corner troubling away keeper Sophie Baggaley.
Olli Harder’s side emerged for the second half knowing they needed to up the tempo and they could not have asked for a better start following the restart, levelling within four minutes.
Svitková was alive inside the box to pounce as the visitors struggled to clear their lines, stealing possession and blasting past Baggaley from ten yards.
Buoyed by their leveller, West Ham nearly went in front with 64 minutes on the clock. The visitors’ Yana Daniels was punished for a foul on Svitková 22 yards out, and Vetterlein went for goal from the free-kick, bringing a fingertip save from Baggaley.
Back came Bristol City and a free-kick of their own 14 minutes from the end brought the visitors a nearly moment, as Jemma Purfield’s free-kick bounced back off the crossbar with Mackenzie Arnold scrambling across the Hammers’ goal.
Salmon’s pace was always a weapon for the visitors, and she wasn’t far away from grabbing the winner a minute from time when she forced Arnold from her goal to challenge for a pass forward. Salmon collected the goalkeeper’s headed clearance in a wide position, but was unable to return the ball on target.
West Ham United: Arnold, Fisk, Flaherty, Vetterlein, Redisch, Svitková, Longhurst, Pacheco, Leon, van Egmond, Thomas (Joel 72)
Subs: Brosnan (GK), Mustafa, Dali, Cissoko, Barker
Goal: Svitková 49
Booked: Pacheco, Svitková
Bristol City: Baggaley, Allen, Skeels, Evans, Purfield, Matthews, Wellings (Harrison 87), Pike, Humphrey, Daniels, Salmon
Subs: Haaland (GK), Bryson, Rafferty, Palmer, Bissell, Collis, Mastrantonio, Jones
Goal: Van Egmond og 7
Booked: Purfield, Daniels
Referee: Sarah Garratt