Tottenham Hotspur Women 1 - 0 Liverpool Women
Tottenham Hotspur Women: Furness 45’ (pen)
It’ll be a season of firsts for Liverpool this year, and Sunday marks the first time they’ll meet the newly formed Tottenham Hotspur Women in history at their new home stadium. While this writer is unfamiliar with this Spurs team style of play, Liverpool will be looking to make something of the afternoon, after an unfortunate loss last weekend to Reading. Vicky Jepson hasn’t made any changes coming out today, so hopefully everyone will be hungry to make a difference in this season.
Things get started quickly with Melissa Lawley taking control early on and charging down the wing, but her shot takes a deflection earning Liverpool a corner early on, but the Reds take it short and Tottenham takes over. Liverpool start dominantly, getting into Tottenham’s half early and doing their most to stay there, even winning a free kick just outside the box, but Amy Rodgers sends it over the bar. This Liverpool side already looks miles better than last week’s, but that also might be in response to the opponent.
Things get a little dicey when Tottenham win a free kick and send it whipping into the waiting arms of Anke Preuss, and she helps Liverpool get on the counter attack quickly and then lose it quickly when Courtney Sweetman-Kirk can’t get behind it. Finding Sweetman-Kirk and Jess Clarke is going to be the biggest challenge for this Liverpool team, but Becky Jane and Melissa Lawley have truly stepped up and looked more comfortable within this side.
18 minutes on and Tottenham have gotten a little more into the game, with Rachel Furness taking a shot from distance that goes just wide, and Tottenham looking for a penalty after a challenge from Niamh Fahey. The play is switching easily between both teams as they charge around the pitch and it’s lovely to see after watching the struggle of last weekend. Things definitely feel more together and the midfield have been a lot stronger - hopefully last weekend can be attributed to just shaking off the rust of the summer.
Liverpool go back on the attack after losing possession for almost a full ten minutes and having to react quickly to a brave and hard charging Spurs, but Spurs have done well to win the ball back at any chance. Things have definitely settled a little since the excitement of the first half hour, both teams are pretty desperate for the breakthrough goal before the end of the half. Jess Clarke even tries an ambitious twenty yard shot but it falls right into the arms of the Spurs keeper.
Tottenham win a penalty just before injury time and Rachel Furness puts the Spurs ahead just before the end of the first half, just as both teams looked like they were starting to wilt in the London sunshine. Liverpool, for all their fight, go into the half a goal behind.
The second half gets underway with no changes, but Liverpool looking to take control once again to find an equalizer, and hopefully a winner at some point. We know the goals can come from this team, but it’s just a matter of finding the ball to the people who can score those goals (like Sweetman-Kirk and Clarke). The Reds win a free kick early on again, after a yellow card winning tackle from Spurs, and it’s chipped in but unable to find a good way into the net and everyone is left chasing.
Liverpool have come out a little more focused, but things have definitely gotten a little more scrappy too, as both teams are fighting for the points. Both teams have won a free kick in these first ten minutes and Liverpool win back the possession to go on attack, but it ends with Sweetman-Kirk not getting a good enough touch to find the equalizer. It’s getting a bit frustrating and we’re only an hour into the game. Kit Graham and Rosella Ayane have both been incredibly dangerous for Spurs and caused a lot of problems for Liverpool, as the home side have grown into this game - Gemma Davison takes a shot at goal and it’s just saved by Preuss.
Liverpool make their first change by bringing on Rinsola Babajide for Niamh Charles and Babajide hits the ground running, adding more of a threat to the Reds’ side. After how well this team have played today against a fairly strong Spurs side, it’ll be disappointing to not even get a point from this fixture, but it’s starting to look that way. Things get really sticky when Niamh Fahey gets shown a straight red card for pulling down Rosella Ayane as she goes on a dangerous break and well... things don’t look great for our Reds.
Vicky Jepson makes a second change, bringing on Jemma Purfield for Niamh Charles, and Purfield charges in as well, bringing fresh legs into what looks like a harsh half. Things have slowed considerably since the red card incident, as Spurs try to find a way to take advantage of Liverpool’s ten women on the pitch, but to their credit Liverpool have truly stepped up to make sure today doesn’t go from bad to worse.
Ashley Hodson comes on in Liverpool’s final change, with a little over ten minutes left to make something of this match despite the handicap of playing with ten women. Anke Preuss has truly kept things from going off the rails today, and Liverpool should be really thankful because Davison has taken quite a few shots that any other keeper might not have been able to keep out. Even for all the pressure Liverpool have put Tottenham under, they’re unable to keep hold of the ball and make something happen, and its really disappointing having seen them start so so well.
Another disappointing outing for the Red Women as, despite their best efforts, they fall once again by a single goal. The straight red card by Niamh Fahey is going to hurt for a while, especially with Manchester United on the horizon, but hopefully lessons will be learned and they can work towards keeping up the intensity that they start with — or finding a better balance going forward.