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Spurs Ladies make history

Posted on 20 February 2017  - 15:00

Spurs Ladies have created another slice of history with their best-ever win - to set-up the glamour tie of all glamour ties against holders Arsenal in the Women's FA Cup.

Nikita Whinnett looks to break - all photographs - Wu's PhotographyMaya VioLucia LeonToni-Anne Wayne makes a fine saveWendy MartinBianca BaptisteBianca Baptiste and Leah RawleSkipper Jenna Schillaci with Maya Vio on the final whistleLadies celebrate on the final whistle

Sunday's 1-0 victory over Brighton in the fourth round of the ladies game's most prestigious competition marked their first against a Women's Super League (WSL) team.

Bianca Baptiste volleyed home another wonder goal to beat the WSL 2 side at Cheshunt FC.

Now it's a trip to Arsenal - 14 times winners and current holders of the FA Cup, two-times WSL champions, 12-times Women's Premier League champions (before the re-organsation of the ladies game and arrival of the Super League), UEFA Cup winners in 2007, the list goes on... - on Sunday, March 19.

It's a stage Spurs thoroughly deserve to step on.

They now have 23 wins and a draw in their 24 matches, sit proudly joint-top of the FA Women's Premier League South with a game in hand and are in the Ryman Cup Final and the semi-finals of both the FAWPL Cup and Capital Cup. It's February and they are alive and kicking in all five competitions.

"It's a special win," said manager Karen Hills of Sunday's triumph against Brighton. "It's where we want to be, always challenging ourselves and so far this season, every time we've put a challenge in front of the players, they have risen to it. Long may it continue."

Below: The Spurs Ladies squad and staff after Sunday's win (photo: Wu's Photography)

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SPURS LADIES 1-0 BRIGHTON
FA Women's Cup, fourth round

Report from Khalid Karimullah at Cheshunt FC, Theobalds Lane
Photographs with thanks to Wu's Photography

Spurs Ladies overcame their toughest test of the season to date as Bianca Baptiste’s wonder goal ensured they reached the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup for the third time in the club’s history.

The Lilywhites started on the front foot. Lucia Leon burst up the right prior to playing to Wendy Martin, whose volley on the turn went inches wide. Laura Rafferty’s hooked ball over the top found Lucy Somes in on goal, forcing Renee Hector to charge across to steer the danger clear.

Sophie Perry played Amy Taylor away whose poked attempt edged towards goal, despite Hector and Toni-Anne Wayne’s attempt to smoother, but Jenna Schillaci was on hand to hook away – prior to the referee bringing play to a halt due to Taylor clipping Hector before the initial attempt.

Alessia Russo hustled for possession on the inside right, taking aim from 25 yards, which Wayne did well to first save down low, and then collect. Taylor collected Somes through ball, cut onto her right foot, though was met by Schillaci’s hurried block.

Martin won possession off Perry, played inside to Baptiste who drifted inside curling wide of the upright. Vicky Ashton-Jones’ looped pass was latched onto by Kate Natkiel, clean through, if not for Riana Soobadoo chasing down to press.

Hector’s pinpoint pass found Nikita Whinnett breaking on the left but her audacious lob was comfortable for Emma Byrne. Leon shimmied through the middle splitting Charlotte Young and Ashton-Jones with an outside-of-the-boot pass to Martin, forcing Jenna Legg to cover. Russo drifted into the area but failed to test Wayne.

Following the restart, Whinnett cut in from the right and her piledriver cannoned back off the post towards Baptiste, who followed suit hitting the woodwork with an acrobatic diving header.

After 57 minutes, the magic of the Women’s FA Cup became the magic of Baptiste. Whinnett drifted inside popping off to Martin, whose strike was blocked, but as the ball arrived into the path of Baptiste, she magnificently lobbed Byrne on the turn from the edge of the area for the all-important lead.

Leon recycled with Baptiste who back-heeled towards Martin bursting through, but Ashton-Jones came across. Russo’s cross dipped to Kirsty Barton, who delayed her run 20 yards from goal, but her half-volley evaded the right-hand post.

Below: Celebrations after Bianca Baptiste's goal (photo: Wu's Photography)

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Josie Green, who covered every inch of grass, targeted Whinnett pacing away who won a free-kick. Baptiste’s resulting deep ball was headed away towards Soobadoo, whose strike couldn’t squirm towards the bottom corner.

Leah Rawle sprung Whinnett down the left who recycled with Martin, she gave it back to Rawle overlapping, but her dangerous cross was matched by Legg. Wayne charged out to close down Taylor, leaving Barton with a gaping goal to aim at, but her near 35-yard lob sailed wide.

Russo’s initial shot was blocked by Schillaci, Hector and Sophie Mclean but a swerving strike on the second attempt looked destined for the bottom corner was matched by Wayne’s stunning, one-hand diving stop.

Spurs Ladies: Toni-Anne Wayne, Lucia Leon, Jenna Schillaci (c), Renee Hector, Leah Rawle, Josie Green, Riana Soobadoo (Maya Vio 72), Sophie Mclean, Bianca Baptiste, Wendy Martin, Nikita Whinnett. Substitutes (not used): Megen Lynch, Eartha Pond, Kelley Blanchflower.