On an on-again-off-again sunny afternoon in London, West Ham United started the affair strong, winning three consecutive corners inside four minutes of the opening whistle. However, it was three chances wasted from the corner flags.
Everton forward Jill Scott then countered with a powerful shot that sailed over the bar, and she followed up her attempt on goal with a wide pass to Nicoline Sørensen, who nearly found Valérie Gauvin in the center of the box.
After conceding three early corners, it was Everton’s turn to go to the flag after Scott and Sørensen again teamed up in the 14th minute. Beginning to look like a top-half team, goalkeeper Sandy MacIver found Claire Emslie with a long ball, a move that ended in an attempt on target that was blocked.
West Ham’s clearest look on goal came in the 21’ — Izzy Christiansen knocked a lazy back pass toward her goal. Martha Thomas picked off the aimless ball, beat Rikke Sevecke and found herself open just inside the 18. Thankfully for the Toffees, the Scottish striker shanked her attempt well wide of MacIver in net.
Needing a spark, the Blues turned to build-up play through the middle of the pitch. Sevecke found Scott, who played a crisp pass to left back Poppy Pattinson. The youngster knocked a lopping cross over West Ham’s defense to Sørensen, who had the half’s best look on goal. Courtney Brosnan, however, was alert to the danger and stonewalled the Danish international, keeping the match scoreless at the half.
The Hammers started the second in emphatic fashion. French international Kenza Dali was unmarked at the top of the 18 but failed to properly connect with the ball as her shot soared well above MacIver’s head.
The Merseyside outfit countered through Christiansen, who connected with Emslie, which set up an Ingrid Moe Wold cross from the right wing. A 60th-minute set piece for the home side saw the ball aired into Everton’s box, just in front of MacIver, who was rooted to the spot. Emily van Egmond got ahead of her defender, earning a free chance, but the ensuing header fell wide. Shortly thereafter, Dali curved a pass into the box, and Thomas had her second golden opportunity of the day ring off the crossbar.
One of the Blues’ final looks on goal — one of just four — came in the 75’. Sørensen, who had moved to a central position, beat her defender at the top of West Ham’s 18. Despite finding herself in an advantageous position in front of goal, the Danish winger fired a shot directly at Brosnan, who smartly parried the attempt out of danger to earn her side a vital point.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
After Jill Scott was brought down 22 yards from West Ham’s goal in the 77’, Izzy Christiansen struck a low rocket that ricocheted off the wall and found the right post. Fortunately for the Hammers, the ball struck the outside half and harmlessly rolled out of bounds. An Everton draw, combined with victories up the table and ties below, means the Blues locked up fifth place with two games to play.
Everton (3-4-3): Sandy MacIver, Ingrid Moe Wold, Rikke Sevecke, Izzy Christiansen, Claire Emslie, Abby-Leigh Stringer, Nicoline Sørensen, Jill Scott, Valérie Gauvin, Megan Finnigan, Poppy Pattinson
Substitutes: Simone Magill for Gauvin 70, Hayley Raso for Stringer 78
Unused Substitutes: Maria Kirby, Gabby George, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, Alisha Lehmann, Maéva Clemaron, Grace Clinton
Bookings: Sevecke 72
West Ham United (5-4-1): Courtney Brosnan, Cecilie Redisch, Maz Pacheco, Gilly Flaherty, Martha Thomas, Kate Longhurst, Kenza Dali, Grace Fisk, Hawa Cissoko, Emily van Egmond, Dagny Byrnjarsdóttir
Unused Substitutes: Mackenzie Arnold, Nor Mustafa, Laura Vetterlein, Maisy Barker, Anouk Denton, Janaye Beaufort