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WSL dream now reality for Spurs Ladies

Posted on 21 September 2017  - 17:45

It has been eight years in the making - and on Sunday, Karen Hills will lead Spurs Ladies into the Women's Super League for the first time.

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Girls & Women's Football Development Officer at the Club since 2005 and Spurs Ladies manager since 2009, Karen has helped guide the ladies team up two levels from the South-East Division of the FA Women's Premier League to the FAWPL South and now WSL 2 after winning the FAWPL South title and then the North v South play-off last season.

Now they face their WSL 2 opener against Durham Women FC at New Ferens Park, Durham, kicking-off at 12 noon on Sunday.

"It has been exciting to see the build up to the WSL season and we're part of it," said Karen, a top player in her time and FA Cup winner with Charlton.

"I watched the England game against Russia this week and at half-time, they were speaking about the WSL. That suddenly made me realise our achievement and we're now at the elite level of women's football in this country.

"Essentially, it's been eight years in the making - but it hasn't really hit me until this week."

A number of the Spurs squad have been there for the journey as well including the likes of skipper Jenna Schillaci, Bianca Baptiste and Wendy Martin with a host of players also there for a number of years and helping that final step up the ladder from FAWPL to WSL.

"We are where we are now thanks to those players and they are showing the same drive and determination ahead of this latest challenge," added Karen. "The team has come a long way and now we want to do ourselves justice in the WSL.

"Durham are an established side at this level and it's a bit of a step into the unknown for us, but the players are confident after a good pre-season and we can't wait to get going."

MILLWALL LIONESSES 1-2 SPURS LADIES

Report from Khalid Karimullah at Fisher FC, St Paul’s Sports Ground

Spurs Ladies geared up for Sunday’s big kick-off at Durham with an FA Women’s Super League 2 preview against Millwall Lionesses - eighth in WSL 2 last season - and a 2-1 win to bring a positive pre-season programme to a close.

Renee Hector flicked on Jenna Schillaci’s floated corner towards Lucia Leon, whose volley was blocked by Billie Brooks. Ashlee Hincks countered for Millwall playing in Ella Rutherford, but Chloe Morgan smothered the danger.

Bianca Baptiste fired a dipper just wide of the right post, prior to goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill catching Ashleigh Neville’s hooked volley. Hincks broke off the left firing with clout past the top right.

Wendy Martin combined with Baptiste who narrowly hit across the face of goal from distance. Hincks’ floated free-kick saw Brooks head at Morgan from inside six-yards.

Neville’s cross deflected towards Baptiste on the edge of the box and her overhead kick was caught by Quantrill. Amber Gaylor picked out Hincks, who assisted Rutherford to hit a curler which Morgan got behind.

Sophie Mclean shimmied in the middle before her delightful pass sent away Baptiste, who cut inside firing just past the left post. Coral Haines’ spectacular lob then dropped over the upright.

Hector burst out from the back curling a pass towards Martin to curl wide. Neville, Martin and Sarah Wiltshire combined intricately down the left, with the former forcing Quantrill into a near-post stop.

It remained goalless in the first half and there was carbon-copy momentum after the restart. Baptiste cut inside off the right crossing towards Martin, whose directed header back across was cleared by Viki Wotton. Haines’ one-two with Wiltshire saw her through, Quantrill pushed the volley onto the post before Martin fired over the rebound.

Rutherford broke away playing across to Hincks, whose strike on the edge was blocked by Neville and Megan Wynne curled into the arms of Morgan. Georgina Giddings inadvertently directed Baptiste’s cross towards her own goal which Quantrill palmed away.

The opening goal arrived on 76 minutes. Josie Green’s free-kick dropped to Hector whose header was acrobatically volleyed by Baptiste, forcing Quantrill to palm round the post. Baptiste’s resulting corner was headed home by Hannah Mackenzie at the back-post.

It was double trouble for The Lionesses a minute later following Ronnell Humes’ low cross picking out Lauren Pickett at the far-post to slide home for 2-0.

Megan Alexander’s free-kick on the edge from the right looped and dropped into the far corner for a late consolation two minutes from time.

Spurs Ladies matchday squad: Chloe Morgan, Lucia Leon, Renee Hector, Jenna Schillaci, Ashleigh Neville, Josie Green, Coral Haines, Sophie Mclean, Bianca Baptiste, Wendy Martin, Sarah Wiltshire. Subs (all used): Hannah Mackenzie, Maya Vio, Lauren Pickett, Ronnell Humes.