Extra-time winner sends Spurs Women into FA Cup fifth round
Reading 2-3 Spurs Women (AET)
Sun 18 April 2021, 17:49|Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs Women advanced in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup on Sunday (18 April) after a thrilling 3-2 victory in the fourth round over Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
Jess Naz’s extra-time winner proved to be the difference after Alanna Kennedy’s stunning free-kick and Rachel Williams’ first goal for the Club were matched by strikes from Fara Williams and Rachel Rowe.
Rehanne Skinner made two changes to the side that played Manchester City a fortnight ago (4 April), with Naz and Kerys Harrop replacing Lucy Quinn and Siri Worm in the starting XI.
Ashleigh Neville appeared as an extra-time substitute, playing her first minutes since January after recovering from injury.
We impressed as we controlled the opening stages, coming close twice within the first five minutes. Williams’ header brushed the roof of the net when she connected with Kit Graham’s out-swinging corner, before So-hyun Cho unleashed a right-footed strike from long range a minute later, which grazed the crossbar as it went narrowly over the target. The hosts broke the deadlock after 12 minutes though when Fara Williams found some luck to pick up the ball outside our penalty area before she chipped it into the net.
Our equaliser came eight minutes later through Kennedy’s magnificent set-piece. After Graham drew a foul on the edge of Reading’s box, Kennedy stepped up and curled the free-kick low into the bottom right corner of Grace Moloney’s net. At the other end, Abbie McManus denied Reading a second after 34 minutes when she reacted quickly to chase down a dangerous attack and brilliantly block Emma Harries’ close-range effort.
We pulled ahead three minutes after the restart when Williams battled into open space and hit a fantastic left-footed shot which sailed into the net, giving us the advantage. Reading drew level a minute later though, when Rowe capped off her run by accurately slotting the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. On the hour mark, we came agonisingly close to a third when Williams squared the ball to Rianna Dean, whose chance was saved at point-blank range by Moloney.
We continued to heap pressure on a resilient Reading defence. After 68 minutes, Williams broke through one-on-one but was denied by Moloney, before moments later Dean’s strike was kept out by a dramatic goal-line clearance to take the tie into extra-time. Our winner came after 93 minutes, when substitute Neville provided Naz with an outstanding through ball, sending the forward charging through on goal before she buried her first goal of the season into the far bottom corner to guarantee our first FA Cup victory over a fellow WSL outfit.
We'll host FA Women’s Championship side Sheffield United in the fifth round at The Hive on Sunday 16 May. The kick-off time is to be confirmed. We return to Barclays FA Women’s Super League action next Sunday (25 April) when we visit Manchester United at Leigh Sports Village (2pm).
Reaction on Spurs TV
Reading 2-3 Spurs Women (AET)
Reading: Moloney, F. Williams, Bartrip, James, Harding (c) (Leine 85), Cooper, Carter (Eikeland 69), Rowe, Woodham, Roberts (Ga-eul 105), Harries. Substitutes (not used): Nayler, Flores, Childerhouse.
Spurs: Spencer, E. Morgan (Neville 91), McManus, Zadorsky (c), Harrop (Worm 103), Cho (Green 103), Kennedy, Naz (Quinn 103), Dean (Addison 71), Graham (Ayane 83), R. Williams. Substitutes (not used): Mikalsen, Davison, Godfrey.
Goals: Reading – F. Williams 12, Rowe 49; Spurs – Kennedy 20, R. Williams 48, Naz 93.
Yellow cards: Reading – Rowe 119; Spurs – Ayane 95.
Referee: Lisa Benn.
Venue: The Madejski Stadium, Reading.
Weather: Clear, 11 degrees.
Attendance: Behind closed doors.