Spurs edge thrilling derby as Grace Clinton stars
Grace Clinton put on a show in London derby between West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur
22 January 2024
A topsy turvey encounter in the final game of the weekend, saw Tottenham Hotspur come out on top in a seven goal thriller at The Chigwell Construction Stadium.
Grace Clinton put Spurs ahead, before the visitors were pegged back by Risa Shimizu. Celin Bizet then gave Spurs the lead again right on half time, with Grace Clinton scoring just after the second half had started, putting Spurs into a seemingly unassailable lead.
Viviane Asseyi and Amber Tysiak then hauled West Ham back from the brink to level it up at 3-3, before Jessica Naz struck the decisive blow off the bench, to make it 4-3 to Spurs.
West Ham named big name signing, Kristie Mewis on the bench for this one, with Hawa Cissoko coming in for Shelina Zadorsky, who is ineligible to play against her parent club.
Spurs named both their Finns, Evelina Summanen and Olga Ahtinen in the middle of the park having both returned in the cup win over Sheffield United last week. Grace Clinton and Martha Thomas returned to the squad and the starting eleven too, with January signings Amanda Nilden, Charli Grant and Matilda Vinberg on the bench.
The game got underway in the wind and rain in East London. The first shot of the game came in from Emma Snearle, but it was charged down well by a Spurs defender.
Spurs won the ball back then broke with urgency, Grace Clinton drove inside onto her stronger right foot, and laid the ball off to the run of Angharad James, but the fullback couldn’t get the cross right and it went behind the Irons goal, for a goal kick.
Spurs made their early pressure pay, as Grace Clinton turned superbly after receiving a ball from Evelina Summanen, before lashing an effort past Mackenzie Arnold to slot her third goal of the season and give Spurs an early lead.
West Ham looked to respond instantly, with Barbora Votikova having to be off her line and alert well following an over the top ball which looked to find Vivane Asseyi. Riko Ueki was next to then try her luck, with her effort being blocked well by the Spurs defence.
Hawa Cissoko then produced a stunning tackle to deny Celin Bizet a chance to run at goal after Clinton had thread a seemingly inch perfect pass.
Bethany England then latched onto a through ball from Angharad James and the Lionesses’ left footed effort was well held by Mackenzie Arnold in the West Ham goal.
Riko Ueki was then the first name to go onto the referee’s book following a late challenge on Evelina Summanen, with the Finn okay to continue after receiving treatment.
Some more lovely work from Grace Clinton who carried the ball so well, working it out to the right flank before the ball eventually came back to the loanee, who spun and hit a left footed effort which was held by Arnold.
Viviane Asseyi then picked up the ball in the left hand channel following a Katrina Gorry pass, but the French international’s effort took a deflection and looped up harmlessly into the arms of Barbora Votikova in the Spurs goal.
Hawa Cissoko then found herself in the referee’s book alongside Ueki, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Martha Thomas, when the Scott dropped in to pick the ball up inside the Spurs half. This yellow meant Cissoko would now miss the visit to Bristol City next week, after accumulating five yellows.
Asseyi again found herself to be West Ham’s ‘out ball’ and drove into the box following a run down the left hand side, but her cut across was intercepted by Molly Bartrip.
From the resulting throw in, they worked the ball into the box and Riko Ueki managed to pull the ball inside, Asseyi prodded the ball towards goal and Risa Shimizu steamed in at the far post behind Ashleigh Neville to lift the ball over Votikova and level the scores.
Spurs loplked to respond instantly, Grace Clinton once again at the heart of things, cutting in and curling a brilliant cross which Bethany England met, but the strikers header was a couple of inches over the bar.
Spurs looked more alert and Ashleigh Neville nipped in to take the ball from Katrina Gorry, who stayed down and prodded the ball through to Martha Thomas, who’s left footed shot drew a flying save from Mackenzie Arnold.
Spurs went back infront three minutes before half time, a wonderful through ball from who else, but Grace Clinton and Bizet emphatically smashed the ball past Arnold to restore the Tottenham lead.
Spurs broke again close to half time, with Clinton again at the heart, but she couldn’t quite force the ball through to Martha Thomas, with Amber Tysiak intercepting the pass.
A chance then came, that you’d have put your house on Bethany England scoring,. Spurs swung the ball in from the right and it found the left foot of England, who was six yards out but lifted the effort over the bar in the last action if the half.
Half Time - West Ham 1-2 Spurs
The visitors Tottenham Hotspur got us underway in the second half and started the second on the front foot, just like they ended the first and Celin Bizet had an early effort after linking up with Angharad James, with Arnold out well to smother her effort.
From the resulting corner, Grace Clinton took aim from the edge of the box and fire an unstoppable effort into the corner, to double her tally and increase the lead to 3-1 to Tottenham, with Spurs’ seventh outside of the box goal this season.
West Ham players seemed to complain in the aftermath of the goal, believing that Amy Turner was impeding Mackenzie Arnold’s line of sight when the shot came in, but referee Stacey Pearson awarded the goal, after consultation with her fourth official.
Robert Vilahamn was the first manager to make changes, bringing off Amy Turner and Martha Thomas in place of Ramona Petzelberger and Jessica Naz.
Spurs broke yet again with the two subs, Naz and Petzelberger combining to set up Summanen, but her daisy cutter dribbled wide of the post.
USA International Kristie Mewis came on for her first West Ham appearance, alongside Anouk Denton and Jess Ziu for Shannon Cooke, Honoka Hayashi and Emma Snerle.
Almost immediately, West Ham pulled a goal back, with a stunning ball in from Riko Ueki, which took a nick of Evelina Summanen and Asseyi followed the ball in to haul West Ham, kicking and screaming into the contest.
The Host’s tails were up and Kristie Mewis swung a corner into the box which Cissoko acrobatically struck goanward but eventually Clinton was able to run the ball away for Spurs and relieve some of the pressure on their backline.
With the wind picking up, West Ham were awarded a free kick which Kristie Mewis stood over and swung into the box which was met by a superb header by Amber Tysiak who’s header looped over Votikova and brought the Irons level with 20 minutes to play.
If there tails were up at 2-3, they were flying at 3-3. Kirsty Smith surged down the left almost from the kick off, only to see her cross blocked by Summanen.
Spurs then pushed forward, looking for a goal to take the lead again, but Clinton couldn’t quite drill home her hat trick with her low effort wide of Arnold\s goal.
Spurs then retook the lead with 15 minutes to go with another twist, Jessica Naz taking aim and firing a low and crisp effort past Arnold to restore the lead with the seventh goal in this crazy, see saw encounter.
West Ham were inches away from yet another equaliser, with Gorry scarpering in and winning possession before unleashing a fierce right footed shot, with flew agonisingly wide of the post for The Hammers.
Matilda Vinberg then replaced Spurs’ second goal scorer Celin Bizet for her full WSL debut. Seemingly to be an out ball for Spurs with the scrappy attacking play suiting the way West Ham tried to press the Tottenham backline.
Much to the comedic relief of the West Ham fans, Molly Bartrip was then awarded a yellow card for a cynical foul, which awarded West Ham another set piece, which Kristie Mewis arrowed goal wards but her effort flew over the bar.
Hawa Cissoko was then withdrawn in place of Emma Harries, bringing off a defender for a striker showed that the hosts were going for this, desperate to claw something out of the game.
Viviane Asseyi was the latest West Ham name in the referee’s notebook, for a late challenge on Summanen when chasing the ball down.
The hosts were piling the pressure on and Mewis found Ueki in the left channel, who’s effort was blocked wide of Votikova’s goal, with the in swinging cover put right on top of keeper, Votikova with the swinging wind, that was hacked away for another corner eventually by Spurs that came to nothing as the game ticked into six minutes of added time.
Spurs then did the opposite of the West Ham sub moments earlier, bringing on Charli Grant for her WSL bow in place of Bethany England.
Katrina Gorry had been everywhere for West Ham, cutting out a forward Spurs ball which rolled out for a corner which the away side took short with the added time ticking down, with Mackenzie Arnold then rather puzzlingly putting a long kick out of play when she had a lot more time.
The Hammers were awarded another set piece, which Mewis hauled into the middle and required some brave, brave defending from Molly Bartrip to get in front of Riko Ueki in the games final action.
Full Time - West Ham 3-4 Spurs
West Ham, Shimizu 35’, Asseyi 62’, Tysiak 70’
Spurs - Clinton 6’, 48’, Biz4t 43’, Naz 76’