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Tottenham Women 1-0 Brighton: Spurs edge Seagulls thanks to scrappy Neville goal

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A first WSL goal for Ashleigh Neville helped Spurs get the three points at the Hive.

Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

It was a chilly, blustery December day in Edgware as Tottenham Hotspur Women hosted Brighton & Hove Albion in FA WSL league action at the Hive. After a scoreless and mostly dour first half, Spurs earned another important three points against the bottom of the WSL table, edging Brighton 1-0 thanks to a second-chance goal from right back Ashleigh Neville.

Karen Hills & Juan Amoros made five changes to the side that drew against Birmingham midweek, but it was a strong side that faced off against a Seagulls team that had yet to score away from home. Kit Graham and Rianna Dean were again up top with Rachel Furness in the hole behind them. Neville and Siri Worm were the preferred fullbacks; Josie Green captained the side from midfield.

First Half

KICK-OFF! It’s a chilly afternoon in Edgware, and it’s reflected by the low attendance at the Hive.

7’ — Spurs have had the bulk of the possession in the early goings, and have been trying to funnel the attack through right back Ashleigh Neville. Hasn’t worked yet, but she’s getting lots of space.

9’ — Kit Graham has a go with a curling effort from the top of the box, but it drifts wide of the post. Good effort!

17’ — Not much action in the early part of this match. Lots of passing, little offense as Spurs especially try and probe the Brighton defense. Looks a bit like a Pochettino offense against a bunkered defense, tbh.

40’ — Finally a bit of offense, as Spurs press Brighton high and try and push into the Seagulls’ box. They earn their first corner, but can’t direct it into the net.

HALFTIME — A rather uneventful first half for Spurs, who haven’t really been able to generate a whole lot going forward. The defense has been pretty good, but Spurs will need to do something to kick-start the attack.

Second Half

Back underway at the Hive! No changes at halftime.

49’ — More of the same here in the second half. A few half chances going forward but nobody quite looks like they want to score.

58’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM! Ashleigh Neville with her first goal of the season for Spurs! There was a scrum in the box and Neville had her first attempt blocked. The ball ping-ponged around and Neville got a boot on it to put it past Wash in the net!

66’ — First sub of the match for Spurs, as Lucia Leon comes in for Siri Worm.

69’ — Shot by Rachel Furness is saved by Walsh, who spills the ball! Rianna Dean races in to touch it home, but Wash is able to gather it in before Dean can get there. Nearly another scrappy goal!

74’ — Rianna Dean is down for treatment after picking up what looks like a knock to her knee. She’s subbed off for Lucy Quinn.

82’ — Yellow for Chloe Peplow for clattering a Brighton player in a challenge.

85’ — Nearly a second for Spurs after Kit Graham intercepts a pass intended for a Brighton defender and tries to play in Rachel Furness. The Seagulls just barely manage to scramble it away.

91’ — Brighton really pushing forward with numbers in the box and have had a number of half chances, but haven’t managed to get it through Spurs’ defense, who have been throwing bodies in front of every ball.

92’ — Spurs’ final sub, Megan Wynne comes on for Gemma Davison.

FULL TIME! Tottenham Women take all three points at home today over a Brighton side who has yet to score a goal away from home. Final score: 1-0.

Notes

  • Not the most exciting match, but they can’t all be. It was scrappy and pretty ugly most of the time, but three points are three points.
  • So happy for Neville, who has been with Spurs for a while now and is probably my favorite player on this team. She’s a lot of fun to watch as an offensively-minded fullback and deserved that goal.
  • Spurs showed some real resilience on the defensive end, especially at the end of the match as Brighton tried to push forward for an equalizer. A solid defensive performance.
  • Kit Graham didn’t have many opportunities, but it was her touch that disappointed me — some heavy first touches, and a number of poorly weighted passes. That’s an area of her game she needs to keep working on.
  • Rianna Dean coming off with a knock is a bit gulp. She hasn’t had the same success with scoring as she had in the FAWC last season, but she’s still a major part of Spurs’ offense and they’ll miss her if she’s out for any length of time.
  • It’s way, WAY too early to call it yet, but Spurs are looking like a solid, midtable side, and that’s a good result for their first WSL campaign. They’re not ready to compete with the top three, but it’s not inconceivable if they continue to play well that they could finish at or around Everton or Manchester United in the top half.