WEST HAM 2
- Vicky Kinsman and Emma Sherwood on target for West Ham
- Kirsty Barton nets an equaliser before half time.
- Amy Taylor scores a second equaliser despite the linesman raising his flag
- Albion remain second and three points behind league leaders Portsmouth
Brighton & Hove Albion women’s title hopes were dented following a 2-2 draw with West Ham United at Rush Green.
The draw leaves Albion in second place, but the gap between themselves and league leaders Portsmouth has been extended to three points, following their 4-1 win at Gillingham.
The Seagulls twice fought back from a goal down thanks to strikes from Kirsty Barton and Amy Taylor, with Vicky Kinsman and Emma Sherwood finding the net in each half for the Hammers.
Albion were on the front foot straight from kick off, as Fliss Gibbons saw her crossshot saved by Hammers keeper Nikki Duncan inside the opening minute.
Barton then threaded in a through ball towards Lucy Somes, who coolly rounded Duncan to slot home, but the linesman had raised his flag for offside.
The Seagulls continued to pile the pressure on the West Ham defence as Somes and Gibbons both came close to breaking the deadlock.
The Hammers had their first chance of the game soon afterwards when Stacey Little headed the ball onto the post from a corner.
Deanna Cooper and Charlotte Gurr had further chances to score, before West Ham took the lead after 22 minutes; Little floated the ball towards Kinsman inside the box and the forward lofted her shot over Faye Baker to put the Hammers 1-0 in front.
Albion were not deterred by the setback and continued to dominate proceedings, after Gibbons worked her way into the box, but shot wide of the target, before slicing another effort over the crossbar.
Duncan was called into action again to save Gurr’s in-swinging free-kick, but James Marrs’s side eventually levelled the scores thanks to Barton’s strike.
Gibbons’s cross caused mayhem inside the area and Barton lashed the ball past Duncan, with the Hammers keeper unable to keep out the shot despite getting a strong hand to the ball.
Taylor then came close to giving Albion the lead moments before the break, but her dipping cross from the right-hand side was tipped over the bar by Duncan.
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Despite Albion's first-half dominance, it was West Ham that re-established their lead in the 51st minute, as Sherwood capitalised on a defensive error and fired the ball past Baker.
But Albion were on level terms again eight minutes later, as Taylor prodded the ball home from inside the box and the referee appeared to overrule the linesman, who had his flag raised.
Marrs’s side pressed forward in search of an elusive third goal, as Gibbons saw her superb angled strike from distance go wide of the right-hand post, before Cooper shot wide after making a driving run from defence.
Charley Boswell replaced Somes late on in the game to add fresh impetus to Albion’s attack and she fired in a cross towards Sophie Perry in the closing stages, only for the latter to see her shot blocked.
ALBION: F Baker; E Baker, Ashton-Jones, D Cooper; Perry, Blackie, Barton, Gurr, Gibbons; Taylor, Somes (Boswell 86). Subs not used: Rowe, C Cooper, Markham.