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Tottenham Women 1-0 Birmingham City Women: Spurs win behind dominant performance

Kit Graham’s first half goal is the difference, but Spurs were the clear better side.

Tottenham Hotspur Women v Birmingham City Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

A new-look Tottenham Hotspur Women hosted Birmingham City Women in the WSL opener for both clubs today at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The match ended with a narrow 1-0 win for Spurs, but an overall dominant performance for Rehanne Skinner’s women. Kit Graham’s first half goal was the difference between the two sides, but Spurs could’ve scored at least three, with newcomer Tang Jiali going close twice, Graham nearly doubling her lead, and Angela Addison coming off the bench and making some good shots in the second half.

First Half

1’ — Early chance! Ashleigh Neville chips a ball into the City box for Rachel Williams, but the keeper gets there first.

5’ — Chance! Jessica Naz flashes a shot wide from the top of the box.

11’ — Spurs pressing high in the opening part of the half, it’s giving Birmingham some problems. The team looks well drilled.

17’ — Really nice pass from Neville into the box. Josie Green runs onto it and can’t direct it on goal, collides with the keeper. She’s okay. Lovely pass from Neville.

27’ — Spurs have pretty much smothered almost every opportunity City have to get forward. Good work from Bartrip and Zadorsky in the back line to nullify anything that even gets close to Spurs’ box.

34’ — Penalty shout for Spurs — Ria Percival makes a great run into the box for a long pass and appeared to get fouled in the box, but the ref waves play on, called it shoulder to shoulder. IDK about that.

40’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM! It’s Kit Graham! She whips a cross into the box and it goes all the way into the goal! Spurs take a deserved 1-0 lead!

45’ — Looooooong free kick from Graham stings the palms of City’s keeper. That kick had some venom on it.

HALFTIME! A deserved 1-0 lead for Spurs Women from Kit Graham’s goal. This is a team that looks confident in their first match, and dare I say it, even a bit fun!

Second Half

No changes for Spurs at the break.

51’ — Shot from Kit Graham! She took the ball by the halfway line, dribbled a couple of players and shot just over the bar!

52’ — Sub for Spurs — Kit Graham takes a seat after a really good performance, and on comes Spurs’ new signing Tang Jiali!

59’ — Rachel Williams dribbles through the center of the pitch on the counter and tries to feed Naz, but her pass is too far in front.

60’ — Sput for Spurs — Williams is off for new signing and former Real Madrid striker Chioma Ubogagu!

61’ — Double sub for Birmingham, as Pennock and Robertson are off for Finn and Whelan.

63’ — CLOSE! Tang goes close twice, one with a low curler that’s wide of the far post, and another off a turnover that’s again just wide. Dang, Tang!

68’ — Achingly close for Spurs! A lovely through ball from Ubogagu finds Neville, who dribbles into the box but tries to square it for Ubogagu instead of shooting. It’s hacked away. What a goal that would have been.

73’ — Naz with a lovely dribble into the box, but her shot is weak and easily saved by Ramsey.

75’ — Sub for Birmingham — Ewans off, Ryan-Doyle on.

83’ — Third sub for Spurs — Josie Green is off, and Angela Addison is on.

86’ — Shot by Angela Addison! It just skims the top of the goal, good ball. Sub for City, Suttie comes on for Holloway.

88’ — Close again from Addison! She takes a great little cutback to make space and has a pop with her left that goes just wide.

FULL TIME! In the end, a really solid win for Spurs against a team that might just be very bad. But then again, you gotta win those matches if you want any chance of a good table finish. Impressive stuff for Spurs today, but they gotta work on their finishing.

Notes & Reactions

  • It’s early days, but this already looks like a Spurs team that has IDEAS and the confidence to execute them. They look well-drilled and with a clear idea of how they want to play. A contrast to the often static and somewhat boring play from last season.
  • It was a problem last season and was the same here — the final pass let Spurs down in the first half and finishing let them down in the second. That said, they created tons of chances and you have to think that these will start going in the net in future matches.
  • Tang Jiali looked very bright in her first appearance for Spurs. Petition to formally inaugurate her into the TangGang alongside Japhet.
  • I was really impressed with Kit Graham, Jessica Naz, and Angela Addison today. Kit had the goal and nearly another in the first half, weird early sub but it might be fitness related. Naz looks like she has improved a TON since last season and was a real spark on the right side of the attack. Addison came on to run at tired legs and had two really solid chance going forward.
  • The CB pairing of Shelina Zadorsky and Molly Bartrip was rock solid all match long. Barely gave Birmingham a sniff at goal all day.
  • This was one of the best matches I’ve seen from Ashleigh Neville in a long time. Worked really well to force turnovers and transition on the break, and had some really lovely lofted balls into the box. Should’ve scored in the second half but opted to be unselfish.
  • Korpela has the #1 jersey which implies to me that she’s won the starting job over Becky Spencer. That’s surprising, as Spencer was probably Spurs’ best player last season.
  • Hard to know at this point how much of this is Spurs being good and how much is Birmingham City might just be bad (they were 11th last season), but it was a really solid performance overall for Tottenham.
  • Next match: next Sunday against (gulp) Manchester City.