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Chelsea edge WSL clash despite hard-fought performance

Wed 15 May 2024, 21:45|Tottenham Hotspur

A spirited second-half display was not enough in the end against Chelsea as we suffered a 1-0 defeat in our penultimate game of the Barclays Women’s Super League campaign on Wednesday evening.

Spurs 0-1 Chelsea (WSL) - Key highlights

- Robert Vilahamn made three changes to his starting XI, with Barbora Votikova, Celin Bizet, Grace Clinton coming in.
- Votikova called into action early on to deny Catarina Macario and Aggie Beever-Jones.
- Maika Hamano puts the visitors ahead in the 38th minute.
- Luana Buhler and Ashleigh Neville both go close to grabbing an equaliser in the second half.

After falling behind in the first half through Maika Hamano's strike, we produced a much stronger performance in the second period of the game and came close to an equaliser on a few occasions, Luana Buhler, Ashleigh Neville and Grace Clinton failing to convert on their opportunities, but we just couldn’t find the breakthrough on the night at Brisbane Road.

That result ended our five-game unbeaten run in the WSL, having already secured sixth place, while Emma Hayes’ side return to the top of the league and could win the title on Saturday if they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and Manchester City fail to pick up three points on the final weekend.

Barbora Votikova returned to the starting XI and made her first start since our defeat to Aston Vila back in February, replacing the injured Becky Spencer in between the sticks, and the Czech Republic international was involved straight in the action on a sunny, warm evening in the capital, comfortably collecting shots from Catarina Macario and Aggie Beever-Jones in the opening stages.

Niamh Charles’ lofted cross into the box was met by Hamano inside the box, but she sent her diving header over the bar while our first opportunity of the game fell to Jess Naz, who was recently named in the England senior squad as a standby player for the upcoming international fixtures, as her dipping left-footed effort was straight into the hands of Zecira Musovic.

Amy James-Turner produced an excellent goal line block to prevent the visitors extending their advantage as Charles slipped the ball into Guro Reiten, she lifted the ball over our number one, however James-Turner recovered to clear the ball off the line. Clinton dragged an effort wide before Macario’s powerful shot was pushed away by Votikova in an eventful opening half an hour.

Chelsea broke the deadlock seven minutes before the break as Hamano managed to get in front of Amanda Nilden to sweep home Reiten's cross from the left. Following a lengthy stoppage in play at the end of the first half, with Nilden stretchered off with an injury, we created one final piece of action as Clinton was teed up by Naz, but the midfielder scuffed her effort wide of the post.

We came out brighter after the restart, playing with higher intensity, and came close to grabbing a leveller. Summanen’s corner found Buhler in the middle of the box, her effort was blocked by a number of bodies before Ashleigh Neville, on the rebound, lifted the ball over the bar.

Ten minutes later, we continued to push for an equaliser as James-Turner’s header from a corner was a routine save for Musovic and, in the last 10 minutes of the game, Clinton created space just outside the 18-yard box as her effort skimmed the side-netting at the near post.

Despite controlling large parts of the second half, we failed to breakdown a resilient Chelsea side as they held onto secure an important three points in their WSL title race, while it was defeat for us in our final game of the season at Brisbane Road.

Spurs 0-1 Chelsea (WSL)

Spurs: Votíková, Neville, James-Turner, Bühler, Nildén (Grant 45+3), Summanen, Spence (Graham 82), Bizet (Vinberg 66), Clinton, England (c), Naz (Thomas 66).

Substitutes (not used): Heeps, Petzelberger, Ahtinen, Wang, Ayane.

Chelsea: Musovic, Charles, Bright (c), Bjorn, Lawrence (Carter 70), Leupolz, Reiten (Kirby 80), Hamano (Rytting Kaneryd 70), Macario (Nusken 71), Beever-Jones (James 80), Cuthbert.

Substitutes (not used): Hampton, Ingle, Mjelde, Bunchanan.

Match data

Goals: Chelsea – Hamano 38.

Yellow cards: Chelsea – Carter 90+4.

Referee: Emily Heaslip.

Stadium: Brisbane Road.

Conditions: Sunny, warm, 15 degrees.

Attendance: 2,532.