WSL: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United
An own goal, a red card, a vocal crowd...it was all happening at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
12 February 2023
A Molly Bartip own goal just sixty seconds after Bethany England had pulled Spurs level proved to be the difference in a thrilling encounter at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Leah Galton had given the visitors the lead on 67th minutes, before England had pulled Spurs level eight minutes later, but Batrip’s own goal sixty seconds after, saw the visitors come away with all three points and go top of the table, even after Ella Toone was sent off late in the second half.
Rehanne Skinner named an unchanged side for the first time this season from Spurs’ 3-2 loss against Chelsea last weekend, with Marc Skinner making one change to the Manchester United XI, with Nikita Parris starting out on the right in place of Lucia Garcia who drops to the bench.
Both sides also fieled a former player in this one, with former Man United defender Amy Turner lining up for Spurs and Rachel Williams, who scored 6 goals in 38 appearances in a two year stint for Spurs, taking place on the visitors bench.
Marc Skinners side come into this one unbeaten in five in all competitions which finds themselves two points behind leaders Chelsea, but have played a game more than the blues at the time of writing. Rehanne Skinners Spurs are desperate to pick up three points here, something they haven’t done in the league since the 8-0 victory over Brighton in late October.
Our visitors were the ones to get the game underway in N17 and they started well, with Ona Battle storming down the right channel and getting a cross in which evaded everyone in United red. Alessia Russo then sped off down the right channel and whipped in a low ball which was cut out, which quickly turned into Spurs’ first foray forward with Bethany England spinning away from her marker but her cross had the same outcome as Russo’s down the other end, being cut out by a defender. United then ventured forward again with some more great work by Russo to hook the ball in, but the header from Leah Galton at the back post looped nicely into the gloves of Tinja-Riikka Koirpela in the Spurs goal.
The first clear cut chance of the game came for United, when Ella Toone picked up the ball halfway in the Spurs half and played a superb ball through to Leah Galton, who beat Shelina Zadorsky for pace but saw her effort go narrowly over the bar. The offside flag was next to deny Galton, who angels a superb header past Korpella in the Spurs goal, but the linesman’s flag halted any forthcoming celebrations. Spurs were then next to try their luck in this basketball style few minutes, with Bethany England being played through by Evelina Summanen but England’s effort sailed over the bar when she really ought to have tested fellow Lioness, Mary Earps in the United goal.
United were getting a lot of joy against Kerys Harrop and Molly Bartrip down the Spurs left and Nikita Parris was next to burst down that particular channel as she whipped in a wicked, teasing ball which was just missed by Russo in the middle. Some good pressing by Harrop and Summanen from Spurs allowed the latter to get a shot off from the left corner of the penalty box but it was well blocked by Mille Turner.
In added time at the end of the first half, Katie Zelem picked out Toone who once again had picked out a little pocket of space in-front off the Spurs defence and looked to thread through Nikita Parris, but Molly Bartrip got a cross to dent her with a fantastic tackle in the last action of the half.
Half Time - Spurs 0-0 Man United
The visitors started the second half like they did the first, winning a free kick out on the left side, which Zelem whipped in but it narrowly missed the head of Galton in the middle. Zelem herself was next to try her luck just minutes later after Toone won the ball on the edge of the Spurs box but the former dragged her effort well wide of Korpela’s right hand post. United kept the pressure on and won a free kick about 25 yards from goal, which Zelem stood over and her effort was just wide of the post, the Red Devils kept coming at Spurs with Russo next to try her luck, twisting and turning away from her marker on the edge but her left footed effort, like Zelem’s beforehand couldn’t find the target and flew wide.
The travelling support, who had been in fine voice all game, must’ve thought what else they would’ve had to do to score, when Toone burst through after great work from Parris but her effort cannoned back off the post and luckily for Spurs, rebounded away to safety.
Spurs then had their first foray forward in the second half and they themselves will be wondering how they didn’t take the lead. Ashleigh Neville played a delightful ball through to Mana Iwabuchi whose ball was begging for any sort of contact to divert it into the net but it evaded everyone in the middle and rolled right across the face of goal. Down the other end, Korpella was then called into action again when Russo again muscled her way into a shooting position and her effort took a wicked deflection off Bartrip which Korepla adjusted too very well too make a fine save down to her right.
United had come out firing in this second half, with Toone again seeing a low effort blocked. However, it wasn’t long till they finally got their breakthrough on 67 minutes, when a ball in from the right from Battle fell to Galton who this time eventually made no mistake, smashing the ball past Korpela to break Spurs’ resistance and give United the lead.
Marc Skinner made two changes after the goal, with Nikita Parris and Hayled Ladd being replaced by Leah Garcia and Vilde Boe Ris. Rehanne Skinner then called on her bench, to bring on Rosella Ayanne in place of Celin Bizet.
Spurs dug in though and on 75 minutes they were rewarded for their persistence, Bethany England was sent away down the left, cut inside her marker and bent a curling shot goal wards which arrowed into the corner, past Mary Earps to bring Spurs level with her fourth goal in five games since joining the lillywhites.
Spurs’ joy was to be extremely short lived however as from the resulting kick off, substitute Lucia Garcia broke down the right and her ball across was put into her own net by Molly Bartrip and United were back infront, less than sixty seconds after they’d been pegged back.
Further drama then occurred as Ella Toone and Evelina` Summanen had a coming together right on the touchline, which led to Toone reacting and pushing Summanen to the ground with the referee Amy Fearn brandishing the red card for Toone’s actions meaning that she earned herself a three game suspension, while Man United would have to see out the final ten minutes with ten players.
Rehanne Skinner reacted to this numerical advantage, by taking off Amy Turner and bringing on Angharad James to strengthen the midfield, with former Spurs player Rachel Williams then coming on in place of Russo for Man United.
Spurs pressed forward, looking to make use of their numerical advantage in the last five minutes with England’s cross being well beaten away by Earps. Lucia Garida then looked to put the game ahead for the visitors with a mazy run but her effort lacked power and was well held by Korpela in the Spurs goal. A huge roar went up around the ground as five added minutes were signalled at the end of the seance half. United’s first goalscorer Leah Galton was then withdrawn for Martha Thomas
Spurs worked one final opportunity from a corner, but Neville’s ball in was well held by Mary Earps in the United goal, but the hosts couldn’t find a way back into it and Manchester United secured the three points which took them top of the WSL table heading into the FA Cup break.
Full Time - Spurs 1-2 Manchester United
Spurs: England 75’
Man Untied: Galton 67’, Bartrip (og) 76’