Leicester City 1-1 West Ham: Visitors remain winless in nine despite late Hayashi leveller

Both sides came into this final Barclays Women’s Super League fixture before the mid-season break on the back of defeats. Willie Kirk’s Leicester fell to defeat against Manchester United in the Conti Cup last time out, while West Ham were dismissed by Everton in the league.

LEI: Leitzig; Green, Howard, Thibaud; Nevin, Palmer, Tierney, Cayman; Whelan, Rantala; Petermann

WHU: Walsh; Shimizu, Cooke, Cissoko; Denton, Hayashi, Stringer, Smith; Ziu, Asseyi; Ueki

Out-of-form West Ham started the brighter at the King Power Stadium, with good build-up play leading to a great ball in towards Riko Ueki, but Janina Leitzig came out to collect the cross comfortably. Viviane Asseyi also saw her long-range effort fly just wide of the top corner.

Leicester grew into the game after a dominant start by Rehanne Skinner’s side and almost took the lead themselves, but Lena Petermann’s back heel failed to trouble Megan Walsh in the Hammers goal.

Jessica Ziu had an excellent chance to give the Hammers what was proving to be an elusive lead, but her shot was parried away excellently by Janina Leitzig. Asseyi then had a chance of her own, but she struggled to get her shot away whilst being pressed by Josephine Green and Courtney Nevin. The French striker then laid the ball off beautifully to Ueki just minutes after, but the Japanese international’s curled just wide of the far corner. 

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West Ham continued to dominate and create chances, with Ueki playing a major role in the setup for the best chance of the game so far. However, Jessica Ziu, who was in search of her first goal for the Hammers, somehow dragged her shot just wide at the back post. 

Willie Kirk’s side had seen a lot less of the ball thus far, but had a rare chance of their own to take a surprise lead, but Lena Petermann again struggled to get her shot away.

The second half began with Riko Ueki once again testing Janina Leitzig in the Leicester goal, but her curling effort was collected comfortably by the Foxes goalkeeper. Viviane Asseyi’s acrobatic volley also sailed just over the bar a few minutes later. Ueki’s header was then blocked at the last minute by Sophie Howard.

Leicester’s first chance of the second half was a classic hit-and-hope situation, with Aileen Whelan catching the ball inside the West Ham box. The English international then spotted Megan Walsh off her line and attempted to lob the Hammers stopper, but it travelled just wide.

The breakthrough for either side finally arrived with just 20 minutes to go. Aileen Whelan made the run down the right hand side, and looked up and found Lena Petermann, who smashed the ball home from close range to give Leicester the lead, which was deserved on the balance of play in the second half.

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West Ham had a wonderful chance to level matters just five minutes later, with Emma Harries closing in on goal, but Janina Leitzig kept the ball out well. 

As the game entered ten minutes of added time at the end of the game, both sides continue to push for a goal; Leicester for a second, West Ham for an equaliser. But it would be a case of the Hammers finishing the game with ten players, as captain Hawa Cissoko was given her marching orders following a second bookable offence, having been booked two minutes earlier for a shirt pull.

However, with three minutes remaining, Rehanne Skinner’s side somehow rescued a point from the game as they levelled matters late on. Substitutes came good for the West Ham head coach as Princess Ademiluyi made the run down the right hand side. The midfielder then curled the ball in towards Honoka Hayashi, who bundled the ball in past Janina Leitzig.

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Following the mid-season break, both sides return to Women’s FA Cup action, with Leicester travelling to Derby County and West Ham making the short trip across London to take on Chelsea – both ties kick off at 1pm.