QPR secure point following Hammers draw
QPR LADIES recorded a second point of the season on Sunday when Jenny Critchley’s first half header earned a 1-1 draw with fellow FA Women’s Premier League strugglers West Ham United in Uxbridge.
Under the control of first team coach Adrian Iglesias and R’s midfielder Sarah Staples, Rangers fell behind early when Julie Melfald broke the deadlock.
But it was soon cancelled out as Critchley opened her league account, heading in a Jade Dempster free-kick with 17 minutes on the clock to secure a share of the spoils.
After making three changes to the starting XI who faced Actonians last weekend, with both Alexandra Nord and Mariko Engels dropping to the bench to make way for Jess Treharne and Seun Odeniyi, Rangers again found themselves trailing early on.
A through ball from the east Londoners cut through the defence, leaving Melfald to calmly round a hesitant Callie Neat and roll the ball into a vacant net with seven minutes on the clock.
Critchley had a chance to equalise six minutes later when she pressurised the West Ham defence into a mistake before seeing her effort hit the frame of the goal.
It only spurred Critchley on, though, and she had her third goal of the season in all competitions when Katie Butts was fouled earning a free kick. Dempster aimed at a nervy Latoya Smith in the Hammers goal and Critchley nipped in to head Rangers level.
West Ham looked for an instant response when Melfald again found herself through on goal before seeing her effort roll wide of the mark. The Hammers continued to pile on the pressure forcing a close-range save out of Neat after a series of efforts following a corner.
Rangers finished the half the stronger of the two teams with the returning Hayley Sloan watching a headed effort saved and the lively Butts causing trouble with her pace.
The R’s continued to control the game after the break with captain Elly Maggs seeing a glorious headed chance fly over from within the six-yard box. Midfielder Laura Cooper also got in on the action with a long-range effort forcing Smith to make the save.
First team coach Iglesias then turned to his bench with last week’s goalscorer Engels entering the field along with a first team debut for Jo Blodgett on the hour-mark.
The game seemed to quieten down in the last half hour before West Ham piled on the pressure late on.
Both Whitney Locke and goalscorer Melfald had chances to steal the points in stoppage time but Rangers held on for a second FAWPL point of the season.
Meanwhile, the Reserves again tasted victory – coming from behind to defeat Lewes 3-1 with a hat-trick from Rae Roberts handing Neil Bailey’s side the win at Silver Jubilee Park.
The First Team now face a trip to Cambridge United next Sunday when they turn their attentions to the Women’s FA Cup.
QPR: Neat, Lopes, Odeniyi (Engels 60), Gwilliam, Dempster, Butts (Blodgett 62), Cooper, Treharne, Maggs, Sloan (Nord 87), Critchley.
Subs (not used): Sseninde, Harte.
Goal: Critchley 17.