The teams met in the FAWPL at Cheshunt FC on Sunday with the visitors one of two teams who can still halt Brighton's title charge - coincidentally, Spurs face Brighton next this weekend.
In the end, an evenly-matched encounter was won by Cardiff just before half-time with no little fortune as Kelly Isaac's free-kick deflected into the path of Alys Hinchcliffe, who finished from close range.
Wendy Martin struck the post in the second half but it wasn't to be.
"It was an even game and it was disappointing to lose, especially to a set-piece," said manager Karen.
"We defended well and had good control in the game but couldn't find that killer instinct in the final third and that was the difference. If anything, we didn't test their goalkeeper enough.
"The performance was okay though, I'm not losing any sleep about it."
Indeed, with Martin and Shannon Moloney available again, Josie Green back from a broken nose and Maya Via now back in her stride after injury, things are looking up squad-wise with the first of three cup finals now just around the corner.
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Below: Maya Vio in action against Cardiff - photo: wusphotography.com
SPURS LADIES 0-1 CARDIFF CITY
FA Women's Premier League
Report from Khalid Karimullah at Cheshunt FC
Photographs courtesy of wusphotography.com
Sunday's game served as a chance for both sides to get a psychological edge before they meet again in the League Cup Final at Aggborough, Kidderminster on May 8.
The visitors started the brightest with Alys Hinchcliffe's corner falling kindly to Abbie Britton, who forced a hurried clearance from Alex Keown. At the other end, Avilla Bergin forced a reaction save from Lucia Leon's cross.
Keown, an intelligent figure at the back, read Hinchliffe's dangerous cross into the box before Cardiff's Kelly Isaac and Kerry Bartlett exchanged passes and the latter's effort was saved well by Toni-Anne Wayne.
Minutes later, Bianca Baptiste broke away down the right before finding Kelley Blanchflower, whose angled effort was denied by Laura O'Sullivan. Blanchflower created more danger, her pass inside the area arriving to Maya Vio whose powerful drive was blocked and O'Sullivan did well to keep out Blanchflower following-up.
A great chance soon arrived for Cardiff's Laura Williams, who broke away on goal after a skilful flick-on by Bartlett, though she could only place her low effort inches past the post.
On the stroke of half-time, Isaac's free-kick from just outside the area deflected into the path of Hinchcliffe, who made no mistake in finding the bottom corner from six yards to put the visitors ahead.
Soon after the restart, Bergin created a glorious chance after floating a delightful pass over the top to Blanchflower, whose attempted lob was denied.
With Spurs applying pressure looking for a way back into the game, a double chance arrived with just under an hour played. Riana Soobadoo saw her half-volley from 12 yards blocked in a hurry by Michelle Green, Rosie Kmita then found Wendy Martin who placed her attempt wide.
Martin couldn't come any closer to finding an equaliser when she struck the post and Shannon Moloney hit a dipper just wide.
As the game drew to an end, Keown tracked Hinchcliffe's run all the way making a vital challenge before she could get her shot away.
Spurs Ladies - Toni-Anne Wayne, Lucia Leon (Wendy Martin 46), Sophie McLean, Alex Keown, Avilla Bergin (Josie Green 78), Bianca Baptiste, Jenna Schillaci (c, Shannon Moloney 57), Riana Soobadoo, Maya Vio, Rosie Kmia, Kelley Blanchflower. Substitues (not used): Leah Rawle.
Player of the match - Alex Keown.