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Match Report

WSL: Tottenham Hotspur v Reading

Bethany England sores as Spurs clinch a 4-1 win over struggling Reading

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Tottenham Hotspur FCW

21 May 2023

Two goals from Bethany England and one apiece from Celin Bizet and Kit Graham saw Spurs ease past Reading by a margin of four goals to one. This result all but relegates the Royals, who will be confirmed relegated if Leicester beat West Ham tomorrow. For Spurs, infront of their own fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, will be pleased to have put on such a clinical attacking display. 

Vicky Jepson made four changes to the side that was defeated by Manchester United with Tinja Rikka Korpella, Shelina Zadorsky, Kit Graham and Jess Naz dropping out and Becky Spencer, Ashleigh Neville, Rosella Ayane and Evelina Summanen all coming into the starting XI.

Kelly Chambers also made four changes to her Royals side, with Jade Moore, Emma Harries and Diane Caldwell all dropping to the bench and Rachel Rowe dropping out altogether, in favour of Gemma Evans, Lauren Wade, Tia Primmer and Deanna Cooper who came into the side.

 With the sun beating down on N17, Bethany England gets the game underway for Spurs with the hoist immediately on the front foot as Rosella Ayane stormed down the left wing but couldn’t pick out a white shirt with her cross. The winger was again causing problems for Reading straight after again darting down the left channel and fizzing the ball across with Beth England just inches away from connecting and turning the ball goal wards. 

The Moroccan international was certainly having the better of it up against the Reading defence and after clever work from Drew Spence down the left side again, which Spurs have clearly identified as a Royals weakness, Ayane’s low effort was well held by Grace Moloney in the Reading goal. The Royals then had their first foray forward with an in swinging corner found Sanne Troelsgaaard at the back post, but her header was blocked behind by Spurs. 

The visitors won corner after corner in quick succession but failed to really make any of them count with a couple of blocks thrown in by Spurs defenders. A lengthy break in play followed as Evelina Summanen sustained an injury and required treatment but the Finn was able to continue. 

It seemed as if that break in play galvanised Spurs as they sped forward, worked the ball out to Molly Bartrip following a corner and floated the ball into the far post and in stormed Bethany England to power the ball home at the far post past Moloney to give Spurs the lead on the 29th minute, her ninth WSL goal in 11 matches for Spurs.

Gemma Evans was proving a real colossus at the back for Reading, nipping in at just the right time to steer a cutback away from Celin Bizet and then putting in a crunching tackle on the winger moments later as she looked to advance further upfield. The Norwegian winger soon had the last laugh though as we ticked onto the 41st minute, she raced onto a crisp through ball, took a couple of touches and slotted it neatly past the Reading keeper Moloney and give Spurs a two goal cushion. 

Half Time - Spurs 2-0 Reading

At half time, Reading made two changes bringing on Emma Harries and Jade Moore, for Sanne Troelsgaaard and Lauren Wade. Vicky Jepson also rolled her dice, as Kit Graham was brought on to replace Evelina Summanen in the middle. 

Spurs started the second half like they did the first, trying to force Reading back and progress forwards, going close on one occasion when a snapshot from the edge of the box was blocked wide. From a set piece again Molly Bartrip picked the ball up from the wide area and flighted a really good ball towards Celin Bizet, who just couldn’t reach the ball. On the hour, Deanne Rose made her long awaited return from injury after nine months out, replacing Tia Primmer. 

Spurs weren’t in the mood for sentiment though, with Bethany England latching onto a defensive mistake, rounding Grace Moloney and curling the ball into an unguarded net to give Spurs a three goal lead.

Two more substitutions followed the goal, one for each side with Faye Bryson replacing Easther Mayi Kith for Reading, and Rosella Ayane replaced by Jess Naz for Spurs. Ayane received a standing ovation from the Spurs faithful as she departed the pitch, having forced the issue for Spurs all game and being a constant threat to Reading’s backline. Spurs grabbed their fourth of the game with fifteen minutes to go, as Kit Graham chased down a long clearance and cooly slot the ball past Moloney to wrap the points up for Vicky Jepson’s side. 

Reading did get theirselves onto the scoresheet with just over ten minutes to go, Justine Vanhaevermaet tapping the ball home at the far post from a deep cross the get the Royals on the board. Spurs used the break after the goal to make two more changes, with Mana Iwabuchi and Ria Percival entering the fray in place of Drew Spence and Celin Bizet.

With five minutes to go, Bethany England was withdrawn and replaced by Nikola Karczewska, with the English International’s two goals, taking her WSL tally up to ten for Spurs in just eleven matches. Spurs were able to see out the remaining minutes of the contest well and effectively secure their WSL safety for next season, whilst all but endings Reading status as a WSL side in the process. The hosts even went close to a fifth, but Mana Iwabuchi poked the ball just wide from inside the area. 

Full Time: Spurs 4-1 Reading

Goals: Spurs: England 29’, 62’, Bizet, 41’, Graham 75’Reading: Vanhaevermaet 79’ 

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