Lost in all the drama of the past 48 hours is this bit of great news: Tottenham Hotspur Women won a game on Sunday! And they scored three whole goals! It was great!
Spurs Women got an early winner from Jessica Naz in extra time to go along with a thumping goal from Rachel Williams and an equally great first half free kick goal from Alanna Kennedy as Tottenham outlasted Reading in the FA Women’s Cup Fourth Round at the Madejski Stadium. The final score was 3-2.
Much to the consternation of English WoSo fans everywhere, this match was a cup match and not a WSL league match, so it was not streamed or televised anywhere. Consequently, the only people who got to watch it were those in the stadium, and considering that it was behind closed doors that’s not very many.
That’s too bad, because by all indications this match was a banger. Spurs went down early thanks to a quasi hilarious error from goalkeeper Becky Spencer. Spencer tried to clear a ball that deflected off of a defender and into the path of Fara Williams, who one-touch lobbed the goal over Spencer’s head to put Reading up 1-0 in the 12th minute.
Spurs equalized eight minutes later thanks to Alanna Kennedy, who rifled a long free kick past Reading keeper Grace Moloney and into the net. The teams took a 1-1 draw into halftime.
Spurs took the lead four minutes into the second half thanks to Rachel Kennedy, who dispossessed a Reading player in her own box and rocketed a shot into the top corner. But Reading came back almost immediately, scoring via Rachel Rowe to tie the score again and sending the game into extra time.
Young striker Jessica Naz and fullback Ashleigh Neville were the heroines for Spurs in extra time. Neville, making her first appearance in months after sustaining an injury, dribbled through the center of the pitch before launching a gorgeous long ball to the feet of Naz, who struck it past Moloney to give Spurs the win.
It’s difficult to analyze a match based on highlights, but what seems clear is that Spurs had a much better time offensively than they have for much of this season. Tottenham Women have had difficulty putting the ball into the net this year. The last time these two clubs met was on March 14 at the Madejski, a contest that ended 0-0. This time, however, Spurs had numerous chances, not just from Williams and Naz, but from Rianna Dean who had a couple of opportunities that went either slightly off or were blocked.
Neville too seemed to be a difference maker and the highlights picked out a couple of lovely long balls to set up players who were pushing forward. Counterattacking football has seemed to be the mantra for Rehanne Skinner this season, and this time Spurs were able to take advantage of their chances.
Spurs move on to face FAWC side Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round, with the match set for May 16. Their next league match is a doozy, away to fourth place Manchester United this coming Sunday. However, this cup win should provide a jolt of confidence for Spurs as they hope to snap a significant streak without a win in the WSL this season.
Full highlights for the FA Women’s Cup win are below.