WSL: Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City
Spurs pick up their WSL first points since October in 1-0 win over fellow relegation zone side Leicester
16 March 2023
Tottenham picked up their first win and points in the Women’s Super League since late October as they beat Leicester City 1-0 thanks to Bethany England’s stunning second half goal on Wednesday evening. The win in Vicky Jepson’s first game as interim head coach sees Spurs move up to ninth position in the league and five points clear of bottom side Leicester.
Jepson had replaced the sacked Rehanne Skinner after Spurs 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend. She made one change from that match with Eveliina Summanen coming into the starting eleven in place of Mana Iwabuchi.
Leicester’s form had picked up since the start of the year with them picking up seven points since then. Willie Kirk also made one change from their game at the weekend, which was a 0-0 draw against Everton, with Missy Goodwin replacing Remy Siemsen.
The Brisbane Road pitch didn’t look great with a fair bit of sand in places. There was persistent rain during most of the match as well.
Leicester had a lot of the ball early on, but it was the home side had the first effort at goal when Kerys Harrop’s shot was easily caught by Janina Leitzig. Apart from that, the first 30 minutes lacked any other chances or real quality with the final ball lacking and both sides giving the ball away or putting it out of play.
Hannah Cain had Leicester’s first attempt at goal but this too was easily saved. Straight away at the other end, Rosella Ayane saw a shot go wide, and then one stopped by Leitzig as the game livened up a bit just after the half hour mark.
During the two minutes of added time at the end of the first half, Tottenham had a couple of chances. England played in Summanen but Leicester blocked the effort behind for corner. Summanen headed the resulting corner wide just before the half time whistle was blown.
Leicester started the second half well but didn’t create much until they had a few chances in quick succession. Cain forced Tinja-Riikka Korpela to make save in the 63rd minute. From the corner, Sophie Howard saw her header saved then Ruby Mace hit the crossbar from rebound.
England gave Spurs the lead in the 65th minute with a sensational goal. She cut in from the left-hand side and sent a shot from the corner of the penalty area into the top corner of the net. The quality of the goal went against what had happened during the majority of the match so far.
Both sides had chances after that with Ayane playing in England but her shot was easily saved. For the visitors, Siemsen put an effort narrowly wide following a cross from Cain. Leicester then had a couple of efforts blocked before Spurs went straight up the other end but second half substitute Kit Graham put a shot wide in the 78th minute.
Ayane played another great through ball to Celin Bizet but she put her shot wide as the home side looked to seal the win. Ayane, who I thought had been superb, got a great reception from the Tottenham fans when she was taken off during stoppage time at the end of the match.
Mace and Monique Robinson had opportunities for the visitors during additional time but neither found the back of the net. Spurs celebrated when the final whistle was blown as they ended their nine game losing run in the league.
Vicky Jepson, Tottenham’s interim manager, said that “it’s fantastic, three points, it relieves a little bit of pressure but still seven games left” when speaking to the media after the win. She believed the goal gave confidence to the whole team. Jepson was happy with the clean sheet, saying “it is everything” and added that it is “incredible from the defenders, midfielders and goalkeeper who made some incredible saves tonight.”
Leicester manager Willie Kirk said after the match that he “thought the second half was end to end, could have gone either way and disappointed it didn’t go our way”. He thought they could have defended the goal better. Kirk noted that they have got to be “clinical” with the chances they have during games.
Neither side play again until Women’s Football Weekend when Tottenham are at home against Arsenal in the North London derby on Saturday 25th March. Leicester travel to Aston Villa the following day.
Line ups –
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1): Korpela, Neville (c), Turner, Bartrip, Harrop, Summanen (Bizet 59’), James, Spence, Karczewska (Iwabuchi 45’), Ayane (Ubogagu 90’+5), England (Graham 72’)
Unused substitutes: Spencer, Cho, Ale
Goal – England 65’
Booked - Bartrip
Leicester City (4-1-4-1): Leitzig, Eaton-Collins (Pike 77’), Howard, Plumptre, Nevin, Mace, Green (Robinson 87’), Whelan (c) (Siemsen 64’), Tierney, Cain, Goodwin (Jones 64’)
Unused substitutes: Lambourne, Levell, Purfield, Smith
Referee – Yoshimi Yamashita