By Adefunmiloye Alani

13th Oct, 2021 | 9:10pm

West Ham Women expert impressed by Claudia Walker in 1-1 v Birmingham

We’re delighted to welcome Michelle Irons as our exclusive West Ham Women’s expert. Each week she’ll be giving her views on the biggest talking points at Victoria Road…

Michelle Irons was blown away by the strike of Claudia Walker as West Ham Women drew 1-1 against Birmingham City on Sunday.

Olli Harder’s side were looking to make it three victories in a row following impressive wins over Leicester City and Manchester City, and Walker opened the scoring nine minutes into the second-half against the struggling visitors.

However, the Ironesses were pegged back 13 minutes later and were unable to find a winner.

Michelle Irons was disappointed that West Ham Women could not pick up a deserved win despite their best efforts, but their growth has her feeling optimistic.

She told West Ham Zone: “I attended the game and it was so nice to see over 1,000 fans in attendance. The game was a fantastic fixture for us coming off of two really good wins.

“I was surprised with the line-up in terms of Abbey-Leigh Stringer on the bench. I thought she had done enough to cement that starting place alongside Brynjarsdottir Dagny. She has amazing athleticism and height and was disappointed to see her replaced.

“In the first half, we played really well and controlled the game throughout the whole half. We put Birmingham under immense pressure and they did well to contain it from Adriana Leon and Walker.

“Mackenzie Arnold in goal was pretty inactive and was not challenged at all, which is a testament to the defence with a special mention to Hawa Cissoko. She was outstanding.

“In the second half, we continued to dominate and Walker had a real touch of class for the goal. She really took her chance here as the Birmingham defence just backed off and allowed her to place her strike. An absolutely sensational hit.

“As the game went on, I noticed that we got tired at some point, and Birmingham slowly grew into the game, although their chances were sparse, they equalised soon after.

“This was a frustrating goal to concede after having two precious clean sheets, which resulted in us ending with a point.

“Our play deserved all three points, but alas, it was not meant to be as we could not find the winner.
This is an important point going into the cup competition and Arsenal next in the league.

“This team are really developing right now and have achieved a fantastic start to the WSL with eight points from five games, and we have a good opportunity to progress in the cup next week.

“Once again, really great to see fans there in increasing numbers.”

Despite dominating possession (65%) and being widely tipped as favourites to win the game against a winless Birmingham, the hosts were unable to make the most of their chances.

They will look to do better when they travel to league leaders Arsenal when action resumes next month after the FA WSL Cup games, and they will be keen to make a statement against their fellow Londoners.

In other West Ham news, Andy Goldstein reckons PL moneybags could target Hammers ace instead of Rice.

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