Kit sinks Blues on historic day for Spurs Women
Spurs Women 1-0 Birmingham City Women
Sat 04 September 2021, 16:50|Tottenham Hotspur
Kit Graham created history for herself and the team by firing Tottenham Hotspur Women to victory over Birmingham City Women on the opening weekend of the Barclays FA Women's Super League on Saturday.
The striker's winner on 40 minutes represented the first goal and secured the first victory for Spurs Women at the fourth attempt at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It was the least a dominant performance deserved, as well. On the front foot from the first whistle, Rehanne Skinner's team simply wouldn't let Birmingham out of their own half for long periods of the game. That dominance led to a number of chances, and a number of near misses, but the result never looked in doubt.
Rehanne handed debuts to summer arrivals Tinja-Riikka Korpela in goal, Asmita Ale, Molly Bartrip and Maeva Clemaron, with fellow newcomers Jiali Tang and Chioma Ubogagu on the bench, both introduced for their debuts in the second half.
The first half was one-way traffic. Jess Naz and Rachel Williams switched flanks early, and Naz was prominent as we laid the foundations, twice just off target from distance in the first 10 minutes. Josie Green challenged bravely for Ashleigh Neville's cross, the ball floating just wide, and Graham's rasper had Blues' goalkeeper Emily Ramsey scrambling.
Rebecca Holloway flashed a shot across goal in Birmingham's only serious attack on 26 minutes and play soon switched to the other end again, Graham's 20-yarder straight at Ramsey before combining with Shelina Zadorsky to set up Ria Percival, Louise Quinn getting a foot in before she could get a shot off.
We continued to put pressure on the visitors as they tried to play out, and that ultimately led to the opening goal on 40 minutes. Naz initially won possession, Graham played in Percival, whose goal-bound shot was blocked by Gemma Lawley. Graham took the corner short into Percival, got it back and whipped in a low cross in that zipped past Maeva Clemaron's dart to the near post and flew into the far corner. Clemaron was outstanding from her holding role in midfield.
There was still time for two more chances before the break as Graham hooked up with Percival again, this time another run from deep ended with a volley over. Graham then thumped a piledriver of a free-kick from 30 yards straight at Ramsey.
The second half followed the same pattern. Graham broke from half-way before firing into the side-netting, but that was her last involvement as, possibly feeling the effects of a knock in the first half, she was replaced by Tang. The Chinese international was quickly into the action as Green won a 50-50 and Tang angled her effort just wide, before the same result from an effort just inside the box. We kept coming. Green shot straight at Ramsey, as did Naz after a one-two with Tang.
Birmingham registered their first effort on target on 73 minutes from Veatriki Sarri, prompting their best spell. Louise Quinn headed over from a corner and Sarri had two further attempts, comfortable for Korpela, but a warning nevertheless.
In the end, a second goal wasn't required, but not for the want of trying, as lively substitute Angela Addison first skimmed the roof of the net from 20 yards on 87 minutes and then turned Arabella Suttie before hitting the side-netting.
That was that, the ideal start.
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Spurs Women 1-0 Birmingham City Women
Spurs Women: Korpela, Ale, Bartrip, Zadorsky, Neville, Green (Addison 83), Clemaron, Percival, Naz, Graham (Tang 53), Williams (Ubogagu 60). Substitutes (not used): Spencer, Morgan, Cho, Ayane, Harrop.
Birmingham City Women: Ramsey, Louise Quinn (c), Sarri, Robertson (Whelan 61), Ewens (Ryan-Doyle 75), Pennock (Finn 61), Smith, Lucy Quinn, Whipp, Holloway (Suttie 86), Lawley. Substitutes (not used): Hourihan, Cowie.
Goal: Spurs - Graham 40.
Yellow cards: Birmingham - Robertson 46, Sarri 90+1.
Referee: Lisa Benn.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Slightly overcast but warm, 18 degrees at kick-off.