Williams fires Spurs Women into League Cup semi-finals
Spurs Women 1–0 Liverpool Women
Wed 19 January 2022, 21:25|Tottenham Hotspur
Rachel Williams made history for Spurs Women on Wednesday night as her sole strike against Liverpool sent us through to the final four of the Continental League Cup for the first time.
In a tight encounter with the Reds, who arrived at the Hive unbeaten in their last 16 outings, there was little between the sides with over three quarters of the game gone, however, come the 72nd minute, a well-worked move between Jessica Naz and Rosella Ayane teed-up Williams to fire the ball home and send us into the competition's semi-finals.
Coming into the game on the back of Sunday’s late, late disappointment against West Ham, we made our ambition known from the off as within five minutes Ayane was already looking to test visiting goalkeeper Rachel Laws, curling just wide from the edge of the area. Moments later, Naz also went close, firing over the crossbar from just inside the box after neat play from Williams and Ayane.
The visitors, however, who are enjoying a fine campaign of their own in the FA Women's Championship, were clearly up for the tie with forwards Katie Stengel and Taylor Hinds looking lively in the opening exchanges – the latter going close to opening the scoring midway through the first half, cutting in from the left before drawing a smart save from Tinja-Riika Korpela.
The early moments of the tie, albeit tense, were certainly befitting of two sides in fine form in their respective divisions, however, as the game progressed, we started to take control of the play and significant opportunities began to come our way.
With 24 minutes gone, Esther Morgan – whose only previous goal for us came in this competition earlier this season against Watford – nearly doubled her Spurs tally when she calmly lofted the ball over the head of Charlotte Wardlaw, only to then volley straight at Laws. Minutes later, Ayane also found herself one-on-one with Laws after a sumptuous pick-out by Maeva Clemaron but, again, the subsequent strike was straight at the visiting ‘keeper.
The chances were coming, but we were struggling to find the cutting edge. Once more, two minutes into the second half, we found ourselves one-on-one with Laws but could not convert. Clemaron was again the architect, threading in Naz, but the forward dragged her shot wide of the mark.
Asmita Ale and Ashleigh Neville were also showing their creativity sending in teasing crosses from the right, but we just couldn’t find the decisive touch. Yet, on 72 minutes, the crucial contact eventually came as, with her first sniff of a chance in the game, Williams picked out the corner of the net to finish off a fluid piece of attacking play.
Naz had done brilliantly down the left before squaring the ball for Ayane. The forward then managed to show her composure under pressure in the box to hold it up before releasing the on-running Williams, who did what she does best and found the back of the net.
And that sole strike proved all we needed to book our place in the semi-finals. Liverpool, naturally, took hold of the game’s momentum from that point but, bar efforts from Melissa Lawley – which flashed over the bar – and Missy Bo Kearns from distance – which was comfortably saved by Korpela – we were relatively untroubled in the game’s final 18 minutes and held out to seal our progress into the final four.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'There was a real purpose in how we wanted to go about the game'
Spurs Women Head Coach Rehanne Skinner told Spurs TV at full-time: “It feels really, really good (to be through to the semi-finals). The players have worked incredibly hard tonight. We wanted to put in a performance that rectified Sunday – obviously we’re still a little bit disappointed from the weekend. So, there was a real purpose in how we wanted to go about the game tonight, and we’re delighted to get through to the next round. Reaching the semi-finals is obviously a massive achievement for us."
Highlights on Spurs TV
Spurs Women 1–0 Liverpool Women
Spurs: Korpela, Ale, Bartrip, Zadorsky (c), Morgan (Harrop 57), Clemaron, Green (Percival 71), Naz, Addison (Neville 58), Ayane, Williams. Substitutes (not used): Spencer, Lane.
Liverpool: Laws, Wardlaw (Roberts 82), Robe, Fahey (c) (Furness 67), Bo Kearns, Bailey, Hinds (Campbell 70), Hodson (Lawley 67), Moore, Humphrey, Stengel (Kiernan 67). Substitutes (not used): Clarke, Daniels.
Goal: Spurs – Williams 72.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Green 19, Ale 62; Liverpool - Moore 8.
Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis
Venue: The Hive, Barnet.
Weather: Clear skies with a slight breeze, six degrees.