The FAWSL returned to a sunshine-filled Hive in North London as Tottenham hosted Reading. Both sides were coming into this game on the backs of defeats in the league cup mid-week and both knowing they had a big shot to get points on the board.
It was the visitors who started on the front foot with Jess Fishlock the linchpin in the middle of the park. She had an instrumental role in the opening goal. It was her cutting pass that played Emma Mitchell into space down the left in the 13th minutes. The left back’s cross found Brooke Chaplen in the middle of the box to power a header home.
The goal seemed to spark Spurs into life and they almost equalised a minute later. Angela Addison got on the end of Ashleigh Neville’s cross but turned her effort over the bar. And in the 25th minute they made it count. Worm’s delivery from a corner was headed on by Kerys Harrop and Josie Green before Neville popped up at the far post to hammer it home.
The second half started evenly, with both sides creating opportunities. Ria Percival saw a powerful shot blocked brilliantly by a sliding Mitchell before Harrop diverted a low effort narrowly wide of the post. For Reading, substitute Lily Woodham forced Becky Spencer into a top save. Alex Morgan came on for her debut but couldn’t impact the game that ended with the spoils shared.
Player of the Match
Ashleigh Neville: We praised her last match and pre-match and Neville showed once again why she is so valued by Spurs. Her tireless running up and down the right flank created numerous opportunities, while her tough tackling helped her side stay in the game. The was one moment that stands out the most. In the first half, she took off through three Reading players, beating them all, before playing a perfectly weighted pass into the feet of Rosella Ayane. In addition, she got the goal to level the score and earn her side a point.
“We spoke about somebody that needs to grab the game by the neck and take that responsibility and it was her that causes a problem in set pieces. She went and did it. It’s not the best goal ever to be scored but it’s a goal and we know we can trust her defending. Today again, I think she was outstanding on those defensive duties and she helped us with the goal. That’s what we needed, and she did it. My praise goes to her and the rest of the team, we did really well.”
JUAN CARLOS AMOROS, TOTTENHAM HEAD COACH
Moment of the Match
Alex Morgan’s debut: It was beginning to look like it might never happen. At 15:40 on a November Saturday afternoon, perhaps the highest profile signing in the FAWSL took to the pitch. It was her first run out in a competitive football game for quite some time so it was important not to expect to much off her. But it was perfect 15 minutes for her to find her feet.
- Midfield stacked: Looking at the both sides’ midfields, it was clear to see that the central areas were a focus. The quality of the likes of Alanna Kennnedy and Jess Fishlock shone through as they became the point through which both sides transitioned forward, as well as providing defensive stability.
- Intensity of the game: It was a high-paced game thoughout, highly competitive and at times testy. You could see the effort both sides put in with multiple players sitting exhausted on the ground at the end.
- Battle of the full backs: While the transition game through the middle of the park, it was the full backs who provided the most danger with the quality of their delivery into the box. Emma Mitchell stood out in particular, having the best game we’ve seen from her in a while.
- Where will Spurs’ first win come from? There is no doubt about it, Spurs have improved over recent weeks. They look more solid defensively and play with a high intensity. But the question still remains, where are their goals going to come from? Rianna Dean hasn’t hit full throttle yet. Can she find her way back to form? Or will a now fit Alex Morgan come to the rescue? It remains to be seen.
Quote of the Day
“I think we started slow. We didn’t find out feet in the game as quickly as we did against Chelsea and that cost us the first goal. After that we got much better; we had a couple of dangerous set pieces and got the equaliser. The second half was very even; there were some patches where it looked like they could score then some patches where we could score. Without watching the game back, I would say a draw is a fair result.”
JUAN CARLOS AMOROS, TOTTENHAM HEAD COACH