The action gets a little congested in the midfield.

West Ham 3 United Women 2

Manchester United Women suffered our second consecutive away defeat in the Women's Super League, losing 3-2 to West Ham at Rush Green Stadium.

United twice took the lead but conceded immediately after scoring both times and then succumbed to a last-minute winner from four-time Bundesliga winner Katharina Baunach.

The Reds made one change from the 4-0 home win against Brighton last week, with Lauren James making way for Jane Ross to face her former side. The Scotland international was involved from the off and provided the assist for the opener inside a minute. The Reds won the ball high up and Ross delivered in a pinpoint cross to find Kirsty Hanson. Our No 18 leapt well to beat her marker to the ball and direct her header brilliantly back across goal and past West Ham goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan.

United celebrate the early opener.
Kirsty Hanson's early goal put United into the lead.
The lead didn’t last long though, the hosts responding almost immediately with a headed goal of their own. The Reds failed to clear our lines properly from a corner, with Kenza Dali picking up the ball on the left and delivering for German defender Laura Vetterlein to head just out of Mary Earps’s reach.

Two goals in the opening three minutes set the tone for the next 20 minutes, with both sides creating opportunities and battles going on all over the pitch. United’s chances were marginally better in the first half, with Brosnan called into action more often than her opposite number.

United continued to put pressure on the home side’s backline, with Ross again involved and forcing them into a mistake. Jackie Groenen picked up the loose ball, laying off to Leah Galton. Her fierce shot was saved and Hanson’s header tipped onto the crossbar from the corner that followed.

With the clock yet to hit 20 minutes, captain Katie Zelem was the next to test the goalkeeper, taking aim from 20 yards out - her shot looked destined to hit the top corner but Hanson did well to gather at the second attempt.

It was then the Reds’ turn to do some defending. First Alisha Lehmann’s effort went just wide and then Earps was forced into making her first save of the afternoon. Dali’s deflected shot looped up making it difficult for the England international but she did well diving to her right to push it around the post for a corner.

Level at 1-1 at the break, the second half didn’t explode into life quite as the first period did.

Galton and Hanson continued to cause problems on the flanks, though the final balls kept eluding any onrushing attackers in the box.

That forced Galton into cutting inside from the left to try something a bit different. Our No 11 was caught on the edge of the area, prime territory for a trademark Zelem free-kick, but her effort went just over the bar.

Casey Stoney turned to her bench to try to reinvigorate United’s attack, bringing on James, Ella Toone and Jess Sigsworth.

Mary Earps on the ball.
Mary Earps with the ball at her feet as she gets closed down.
Super-sub James gave United the lead with nine minutes to go, latching on to Hanson’s through ball and drilling a low finish across goal.

But it wasn’t to be for United, who were again lapse immediately after scoring. The home side, almost needing to concede to pose any threat going forward, drew level through Katharina Baunach’s free-kick. Her left-foot delivery from the right wing went all the way through, evading everyone including Earps.

And it was another set-piece that proved the Reds’ downfall. The referee deemed Ella Toone’s foul to be just outside the penalty area but Baunach stepped up to take the set-piece and found the bottom corner.

Substitute James regained the lead for the Reds.
United congratulate Lauren James on her goal in the second half.
MATCH DETAILS

United Women: Earps; A. Turner, McManus, M. Turner, Harris; Zelem, Ladd, Groenen (Toone 70); Hanson (Sigsworth), Ross (James 58), Galton.

Subs not used: Mikalsen, Okvist, Green, Arnot, Smith.

Scorers: Hanson, James

Booked: James, Toone

West Ham Women: Brosnan; Kvamme, Hendrix, Flaherty, Lehmann (Leon 49), Kiernan, Thomas, Baunach, Longhurst (Middag 90+3), Dali (Cho 90), Vetterlein.

Subs not used: Moorhouse, Galabadaarachchi, De Graaf, Leon.

Scorers: Vetterlein, Baunach 2.

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