While still harbouring hopes of a potential title-challenge, United went into the game at the Chigwell Construction Stadium after having beaten both Leicester City and Reading in the league. The Reds had also lost just one league game in 2022. West Ham had lost just one game at home in the whole season.
A raft of injuries and suspensions though, limited Marc Skinner’s selection. United started with just one proper centre-back in Diane Caldwell as Katie Zelem started beside her in the backline. Leah Galton, Ella Toone, Alessia Russo and Martha Thomas all started as well.
With the rain teeming down, it was expected to be a tough game. And United got a golden chance to make it 1-0 as Galton’s low ball across the turf met Toone, but she couldn’t turn it into the back of the net.
Zelem, fresh off the back of scoring three goals from corners, caused problems with a set-piece as her free-kick was somehow cleared away by the Hammers.
Toone had another good chance to hand United the lead but her powerful effort was parried by West Ham goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold. Minutes later, Arnold nearly scrambled Thomas’ shot into the net but it hit the post and the goalkeeper gobbled it up just in time.
United started the second half as strongly as they had finished the first one. Russo’s fierce effort brought out another save from Arnold but it was Toone herself who got United’s opener about ten minutes into the second half.
Zelem’s corner was cleared by West Ham but Galton kept hold of the ball before Toone acrobatically found the back of the net following a deflection off a Hammers player.
Once United went 1-0 up, West Ham found their rhythm and had their best attacking spell of the game. Tameka Yallop had an effort go over the bar and minutes later, Katerina Svitkova had an effort go just wide of Mary Earps’ goal. Yallop also headed another effort right at Earps.
Just before stoppage time was added on, Svitkova had a golden chance to equalise but her header went just wide. But United were in for late heartbreak and it wasn’t for the first time in the season.
A couple of minutes into stoppage time, as Grace Fisk headed in for a vital equaliser for the Hammers.
While United may have done more if they had their preferred backline available, the late goal shattered hopes of going more than 3 points clear of fourth-placed Manchester City. A win would have been the perfect way for the Reds to go into the game att Old Trafford against Everton.