Ladies one step from cup final hat-trick
07 March 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs Ladies produced arguably their best win of the season to progress into the semi-final of the FA Women's Premier League Cup on Sunday.
They recovered quickly from last week's heartbreaking late FA Cup loss to WSL 2 side Aston Villa to inflict a rare defeat on Brighton - the team currently top of the FAWPL South by nine points - in the quarter-final at Brimsdown Rovers FC.
With key players sidelined, this was the acid test for Spurs but they came through with flying colours as Lucia Leon struck the only goal of the game with only three minutes remaining to set up a semi-final date against Nottingham Forest. That tie will be played at Basford United FC in Nottingham on Sunday week, March 20.
"This win was so important after what happened against Villa in the FA Cup," said manager Karen Hills. "That was our first defeat in 2016 and it was key to bounce back straight away.
"We had a number of players out - Avilla Bergin, Bianca Baptiste, Leah Rawle, Katie O'Leary, Mia Vio and Josie Green - but the team was so resilient, you could see how much it meant to them."
It's a big week for the ladies - they follow that quarter-final win with a FAWPL game against West Ham at Upton Park tomorrow night (Tuesday, March 8, 7.45pm). Look out for Karen's preview tomorrow.
SPURS 1-0 BRIGHTON
FA Women's Premier League Cup, quarter-final
Report from Khalid Karimullah at Brimsdown Rovers FC
Following last week's disappointment against Aston Villa, which saw Karen Hills' side fall short for the first time in cup competitions this season, they bounced back superbly with a hard fought 1-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion to reach the semi-finals of the FA Women's Premier League Cup.
Spurs started the better of the two sides. Riana Soobadoo's pressure allowed Wendy Martin to break away on goal, though with just Brighton's Leah Samain to beat, she placed her effort wide. Despite the bright start, the visitors began to get a foothold on the game but couldn't find a way past Jenna Schillaci and Alex Keown in the centre of Spurs' defence.
Minutes later, Soobadoo won back possession again and slipped a pass into the path of Ronnell Humes, who forced a stretching save from the busy Samain. At the other end Lucy Somes saw her half-volleyed attempt blocked by Keown.
Toni-Anne Wayne was largely a bystander in the Spurs goal for the opening half-hour but when Hollie Olding played a cutting pass through to Charley Boswell, she made a fine block. With the half coming to a close, Samian was kept busy as she made a great double stop. First Sophie McLean on the edge of the area saw her swerving effort denied before Martin following up from inside the six-yard box was also kept out.
Somes was again denied by the brilliant Keown who made a vital clearance from just outside the area before Martin broke into the box and her effort beat Samain but zipped across the face of goal.
With Spurs continuing to knock at the door for the opening goal, and with Soobadoo controlling the game in the middle of the park with Shannon Moloney, Martin fired within inches of giving the hosts a deserved lead. Somes then reciprocated a chance for Gurr, who fired past the upright, just as the conditions continued to worsen.
With extra-time looming, Tottenham took the lead after 87 minutes. Keown floated in a free-kick from half way inside the visitors half and the ball bobbled through to Lucia Leon, who made no mistake from close range as she clinically rolled her effort into the far corner.
Spurs Ladies: Toni Anne-Wayne, Mollie Kmita, Alex Keown, Jenna Schillaci (c), Rosie Kmita, Shannon Moloney (Amy Cooper 81), Sophie McLean, Lucia Leon, Shannon Moloney, Riana Soobadoo, Wendy Martin, Ronnell Humes (Kelley Blanchflower 70). Substitutes (not used): Chloe Morgan, Ertha Pond.
Player of the match - Lucia Leon.