Tottenham traveled to Leigh Sports Village to take on 4th placed Manchester United in match-day 20. Tottenham are still searching for their first WSL win of 2021 after defeat to Manchester City in our Lilywhites last WSL match.
The FA Cup.
Tottenham were in FA Cup action last week where our Lilywhites took on Reading in the 4th Round of the FA Cup. Reading has always been a tough opponent and with our confidence currently being so low, it was always going to be a tough match. Tottenham came out like a new team and after many weeks of bad luck and the ball not wanting to go into the back of the net, our Lilywhites finally had a turn of fortune in a hard thought match which went into extra time.
Manchester United lined up in a 4-2-3-1 with Earps in goal, A. Turner in at right-back, Smith and M.Turner in the centre of defence with Batlle in at left-back. In front of the defence was Staniforth and Zelem with the United midfield being occupied by Toone down the right, Sigsworth in the centre and Press down the left with Hanson in the number 9 role for United.
Tottenham went with a 4-3-3 with Spencer in goal, Neville in at right-back, Kennedy and Zadorsky in the centre of defence with Harrop in at left-back. The Tottenham midfield was made of Green, Graham and Cho while the front three was made of Naz down the left, Williams down the right with Dean in the number 9 role.
Tottenham started the game well, attacking United, putting them under a lot of pressure not allowing United to play their game while dealing with the United attacks well. Both teams had half chances but nothing to bother either keeper. Tottenham started the game like they finished last weeks FA Cup tie against Reading however it was United that struck first in the 9th minute when United played from the back with M.Turner who found Press in midfield who passed out wide to Hanson down the left who then crossed into the Tottenham box finding Toone who shot with her left to put United one up. Tottenham broke apart after that United goal with United dominating possession and looking the more likely to score. United doubled their lead in the 19th minute when Press headed in from a Toone corner. Tottenham tried to get back into their rhythm and push United back like in the first 10 minutes but Tottenham’s passing was sloppy as they gave the ball cheaply away to United at every opportunity.
Tottenham was again punished in the 30th minute when United countered Tottenham with Smith finding Hanson down the left who crossed into the Tottenham box, Harrop was unable to deal with the ball and the loose ball fell to Sigsworth who powerfully shot past Spencer to make it 3 to the hosts. United almost got themselves in trouble in the 33rd minute when Millie Turner played a ball across the United goal to Earps who passed to Amy Turner and was just able to put the ball out for a throw after good pressure by Dean who almost stole the ball for the United defender. Neville was given a tough time by Hanson and in the 35th minute Hanson again took on Neville getting past her with ease and getting her shot away but Spencer saved comfortably. The last chance of the game fell to Tottenham in the 42nd minute when good play by Cho and Naz led to Naz centring from the right but Williams completely missed the header before United cleared the ball to safety.
Tottenham started the 2nd half with a double substitution with Ayane and Worm coming on for Harrop and Cho. United started the 2nd half just like they finished the first dominating possession from the get-go. It took United just one minute to extend their lead when Kennedy mistimed her tackle on Staniforth leading to a United spot-kick which was taken by Toone who sent Spencer the wrong way to make it 4 for United. Tottenham had a rare attack in the 57th minute when good play by Ayane down the right lead to a cross deep into the United box but great defensive marking by Turner put Naz off who is unable to connect with the cross in what surely would have been a goal for Tottenham. United attacked straight back at Tottenham and a minute later a great run by Press down the middle led to a shot with her left from distance but her shot was straight at Spencer after great pressure by Kennedy. A minute later United was at it again, Press again shot from distance but Spencer got down well to deny Press her 2nd of the match. With a 4 goal advantage, United did not look like going easy on Tottenham and in the 67th minute, United came close again when Hanson latched into a Groenen long ball but good pressure from Morgan didn’t allow Hanson to compose herself as her shot was palmed over for a corner by Spencer.
United again came close in the 71st minute when a Galton corner almost went straight in had it not hit the bar before being cleared by Tottenham. Good play by Galton and Press in the 76 minute almost lead to a 5th for United but Press couldn’t keep her effort on target as her effort sailed past Spencer’s left-hand post. A minute later United again came close this time Press played Galton in with a chip but Galton skied her effort over Spencer’s bar. Hungry for more Hanson came close once more in the 79th minute when her effort from distance was parried away by Spencer but only as far as Press but she was given off-side. United kept pressuring Tottenham looking for a 5th and toying with our Lilywhites by passing the ball as our players ran helplessly trying to get the ball back but in the 2nd minute of injury time Tottenham got their reward. With the final attack of the game, Ayane was brought down by Carrie Jones, up stepped Alanna Kennedy who unleashed a thunderous shot into the top left-hand corner leaving Earps with no chance before Christiana Hattersley blew the final whistle.
Player of the match.
Even though we conceded 4 our player of that match goes to Becky Spencer, had it not been for Spencer we could have easily lost by 7 or 8. Spencer pulled off some wonderful saves against Hanson, Toone and Press, therefore, gets our vote for player of the match.
Post match analysis.
Again the line up cost us any chance of taking points from this game, Why did Siri not start? Why was Naz playing instead of Addison? Why was Ayane brought on at half time instead of Quinn or Addison? these are questions we will never know the answers to. This must be the only game all season that we just wanted the game to finish and be put out of our misery. It is also the only game that our Lilywhites never got into the game. We knew this game would be tough as our next game against Chelsea but whatever happens, this kind of performance where the team didn’t even show up is not acceptable. Neville had a horrid game and was given a real hard time by Hanson and Toone, maybe Neville was rushed back into the starting line up after injury but Neville truly struggled all game. Tottenham started brightly in the first 8 minutes, not creating any clear chances but made it uncomfortable for united. BUT once United took the lead Tottenham once again fell apart. Tottenham just do not know who to recover when they find themselves a goal down and that has been one of the biggest issues this season compared with last year.
We have two WSL matches remaining, next we host Chelsea and we end the season away to Birmingham. Our fate remains in our hand as long as we get at least a point from one of the final two matches. So far we are doing well in the FA Cup and we will take on Sheffield United at home in the 5th round of the prestigious cup. Unfortunately for our Lilywhites, that game will have to take place behind closed doors as government restrictions for sporting events are not eased until 24 hours later on Monday 17th May 2021. We have two matches left to ensure we remain in the WSL for another season, even though many believe we are safe, mathematically we can still go down so just one point from our final 2 games will ensure our survival. After such a terrible season it would be wonderful if we could have a good run in the FA Cup. We should get past Sheffield United and after that it will come down to the luck of the draw. Before we can think about the FA Cup we need to finish on a high in the league. COME ON YOU SPURS we know you can do it.
Our next match has been moved from a weekend fixture to Wednesday, May 5th due to Chelsea being involved in the Champions League. The game is now scheduled for a 17.30 kick-off with the match being broadcast on BT Sports.
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Tottenham vs Chelsea