By Dean White

18th Mar, 2021 | 12:50pm

West Ham Women Expert: Ridiculous defensive lapse leads to dropped points 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…

West Ham suffered late heartbreak on Wednesday night when Ruby Mace netted a stoppage-time equaliser for Birmingham in a 2-2 draw at Victoria Road.

Olli Harder’s team managed to move off the bottom spot and above Bristol City into 10th place in the WSL but victory would have been a major stride towards safety.

Emily Murphy put Birmingham ahead in the ninth minute before second-half goals by Emily van Egmon and Katerina Svitkova put the Hammers ahead with 17 minutes left to play.

It seemed as though the three points would be staying in East London before Mace’s stoppage-time strike meant the game ended 2-2.

West Ham Women expert Michelle Irons was delighted with the overall performance of the Hammers in the second half but has bemoaned the defensive lapse that led to Mace’s 94th-minute goal.

Speaking to West Ham Zone, she said: “At the end of that game last night I was exhausted. I really thought we were home and dry and had got a really good win. How wrong was I?

“In the first half, we conceded a really cheap goal and sucked up the pressure Birmingham put on us. Claudia Walker was excellent but after her head injury, she was out of the game.

“We came out really positive in the second half and Martha Thomas had some fantastic chances she really should have scored.

“Thomas had a great game. She’s strong, quick and always looking to make something happen.

“Svitkova also impressed as she was full of energy and scored a fantastic goal to set us up for three precious points.

“I’d have been delighted to see us rise to ninth in the WSL but then a ridiculous lack of concentration allowed Birmingham back into the game.

“We didn’t clear the ball and allowed them to attack and, as a result, got punished.

“Overall we deserved to win thanks to our second-half performance but were once again let down by defensive frailties.

“This has been West Ham’s problem all season and games are running out.

“Up ahead is a very tough fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford so all the focus will be on them but I’m not confident at all and will be looking at Bristol City’s fixtures closely.”

West Ham don’t play until next Saturday when they take on third-placed Man United, who have lost two of their last three WSL fixtures.

As it stands, the Hammers are only out of the WSL’s relegation zone due to their superior goal difference in comparison to bottom-placed Bristol City, who face Tottenham away next Sunday.

While everyone will be firmly focused on the match against Man United, there’s no doubt there’ll be one or two eyes gazing towards North London next weekend.

In other West Ham Women news, Michelle Irons has reacted to Emily Ramsey’s arrival on loan from Manchester United.