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Ladies pass key test

Posted on 15 November 2016  - 10:00

Spurs Ladies came through their toughest test with flying colours on Sunday.

Celebrations as Renee Hector heads home the winner - all photos - Wu's PhotographyNikita Whinnett lets flyToni-Anne WayneWendy MartinLeah RawleJosie GreenBianca BaptisteLucia Leon

They dug in deep to topple Coventry United 1-0 in the FA Women's Premier League thanks to Renee Hector's soaring header from Bianca Baptiste's cross.

That stretched their incredible start this season to 13 wins and a draw in all competitions including seven wins in eight in the FAWPL South.

They are, unquestionably, title contenders this term with the top four - Cardiff, Spurs, Charlton and Coventry - already breaking clear.

Manager Karen Hills said: "We set out a game plan, we'd worked hard in training to implement it and credit to all the girls, they put the effort in and were brilliant from start to finish. If we can play like that on a weekly basis, I'll be happy."

Women's FA Cup

Meanwhile, Spurs have been drawn at home against Leyton Orient of the London and South-East Regional Women's Football League Premier Division - the third tier of the women's football pyramid - in the first round proper of the SSE Women's FA Cup on Sunday, December 4 (2pm).

It means the teams will meet twice in the space of a fortnight with the first clash in the quarter-finals of the Capital Women's Cup this Sunday at Mile End Stadium (2pm).

COVENTRY UNITED 0-1 SPURS LADIES
FA Women's Premier League

Report by Khalid Karimullah, at Pack Meadow, Coventry
Photos with thanks to Wu's Photography

The culture of accountability that’s been created at Spurs Ladies was evident against similarly high-flying Coventry United Ladies, as Karen Hills’ outfit took home three points in a deserved 1-0 win.

The hosts edged the opening minutes, Laura Cooper’s low driven free-kick was held onto by Toni-Anne Wayne who ensured there was no spillage with a multitude of players lying in wait. The Lilywhites soon found their feet, Jenna Schillaci’s floated corner arrived towards Renee Hector at the back-post who struck with a lot of clout forcing a palm-stinging save from Susan Wood.

Nikita Whinnett burst down the left lopping a cross up to Wendy Martin whose directed header found Lucia Leon, but her attempted volley from just inside the area was blocked by Anna Wilcox. Martin’s low strike from an angle was denied by Wood’s legs, before her perfectly-weighted pass looking for the overlapping Bianca Baptiste made Wood rush out of her box to clear the danger.

Another well-delivered Schillaci corner found Riana Soobadoo 18-yards from goal whose attempted lob was caught by a pressured Wood. Amber Hughes led a counter at the other end finding Helen Dermody, but her dipping volley went wide of Wayne’s right-hand post.

Leah Rawle and Baptiste recycled possession on the left flank as the latter curled a pass through towards Martin, who lined up for a shot, but Wilcox was there again just managing to poke the danger clear.

The all-important breakthrough arrived one minute from half-time, Baptiste’s delivery from the inside left channel was met by Hector who emphatically headed Spurs in front.

Following the restart, Schillaci’s curled free-kick was palmed out to Martin who just couldn’t get her shot away with Wood gathering on the second attempt. Martin connected with Leah’s surging run and cross guiding her header to Leon, whose low drive was blocked by Nikki Miles. Sophie Mclean tracked Alison Hall’s counter inside Tottenham’s half denying any danger developing. Dermody failed to take advantage firing over without pressure after a fortuitous bobble saw Jade Brooks deflected cross find her on the edge of the box.

With the hosts gaining momentum, Ashleigh Neville struck from 25-yards which rattled the crossbar allowing Wayne to gather the dipping ball. Schillaci zipped a free-kick inches past the left-hand post before two nail-biting chances were fashioned. First Hughes burst into the area which saw Josie Green make a vital block on the stretch, Marie Gauntlett then powered her way to within six-yards from goal, howbeit Rawle made an acrobatic last-ditch challenge to deny her.

Spurs Ladies: Toni-Anne Wayne, Lucia Leon, Jenna Schillaci, Renee Hector, Leah Rawle, Josie Green, Sophie Mclean, Riana Soobadoo, Bianca Baptiste (Maya Vio 83), Wendy Martin, Nikita Whinnett (Cheryl Williams 73). Substitutes (unsed): Megen Lynch, Eartha Pond, Kelley Blanchflower.