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Fisk late equaliser for West Ham puts dent in Manchester United’s Champions League ambitions

By Football Reporter

Grace Fisk’s stoppage time header gave West Ham a late 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United in rainy Dagenham. Ella Toone’s deflected goal had given the Red Devils the lead, but the draw dents the Red Devils push to retain the third and final Champions League place in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table. The conditions played a part for both sides in a goalless first half. A mistake let Leah Galton through for the visitors in the 18th minute, but Hawa Cissoko got back to clear. Seven minutes before half-time, Katie Zelem struck low from the edge of the penalty area, forcing West Ham’s goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold to parry it away. In the 42nd minute, Red Devils’ forward Martha Thomas struck the bar against her former club with a twisting lob from 25 yards out, while two minutes later, Jackie Groenen’s half-volley was saved by Arnold. The visitors started the second half brightly, Alessia Russo’s thunderous shot well blocked on the line by Arnold and they scored in the 54th minute. A Zelem corner created a scrap in the goalmouth, and Toone improvised an overhead kick in the six-yard box which deflected into the net off Gilly Flaherty. West Ham could have responded within five minutes, but Tameka Yallop’s clipped shot went just over the bar for Olli Harder’s side. Jade Moore came on for her Manchester United debut, Marc Skinner introducing her with just over 20 minutes remaining. But Grace Fisk scored at the start of stoppage time, getting the final touch in a chaotic box as West Ham pushed for the late equaliser in dreadful weather. West Ham now visit Ipswich in the FA Cup on Sunday. To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage

West Ham United (3-5-2): Mackenzie Arnold, Hawa Cissoko, Grace Fisk, Gilly Flaherty, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Katerina Svitkova, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Tameka Yallop, Kate Longhurst, Yui Hasegawa, Adriana Leon Substitutes: Lisa Evans for Stringer 69, Lucy Parker for Leon 90, Substitutes not used: Anna Leat, Zaneta Wyne, Emma Snerle, Claudia Walker, Mel Filis, Lois Joel, Halle Houssein Goals: Fisk 90 Bookings: Flaherty 45+1 Red Cards: None

Manchester United (3-4-3): Mary Earps, Hannah Blundell, Ella Toone, Vilde Boe Risa, Martha Thomas, Katie Zelem, Leah Galton, Jackie Groenen, Diane Caldwell, Ona Batlle, Alessia Russo

Substitutes: Jade Moore for Vilde Boe Risa 67, Ivana Ferreira Fuso for Russo 74, Kirsty Hanson for Thomas 90

Substitutes not used: Sophie Baggaley, Martha Harris

Goals: Toone 54

Bookings: Caldwell 7, Toone 89

Red Cards: None

Referee: Daniel Lamport

Attendance: 1,425

Olli Harder, West Ham manager: “It was a decent game of football, two teams going hammer and tongs on a wet rainy night in east London. “I thought the goal we gave away was sloppy, so we’re disappointed with that. But the reaction was what I expect from my team at West Ham. I’m proud of the girls, I’m proud of the effort, and the reaction led to the goal, and several other key chances. “In fairness, I think 1-1 is a fair result. I think both teams will walk away thinking they could have won. Man Utd had quality chances, but we also created some quality chances as well. We’ll take a point, and we’ll continue our record of marching along, at home in particular. [Grace Fisk] “Big goal. We’ve been rotating the squad lately. We will have four games in ten days, so it’s important that she was available for us tonight. We decided to put her in, and she’s paid us back in spades. We’re extremely pleased for her, and for the team.” Marc Skinner, Manchester United manager: “We acquitted ourselves well up until that last moment. We’ll be gutted about that. But we’ve had Covid, we’ve had injuries, we’ve had our captain [Katie Zelem] willing to go in at centre half for the club, that’s how much she’s willing to do for the club. West Ham are very physical, it’s a game where we had to dig in. We’re gutted for not winning, but there was so much really good stuff, resilient stuff, from that group today. [Squad] “It’s about recruiting in the future so we don’t get into this position. Most of the injuries we’ve got are unfortunate. Half of them are not even from playing with us - international duty, and so on. But no excuses. We have to defend that set piece better. But I’m proud of what they’ve done. They’re showing resilience, they’re showing togetherness, all the things I’m asking. Sometimes the result doesn’t go for you in that moment, but as a group they’ve shown everything they can do, barring getting a result.”


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