Vicky Jepson put out a rotated side, with captain Shelina Zadorsky, Kit Graham and Jess Naz making their first starts after various extended spells on the sideline. Ash Neville and Eveliina Summanen uncharacteristically started on the bench, as did Mana Iwabuchi, who impressed in her cameo against Brighton last week.
Leah Galton nearly opened the scoring for Manchester United after just three minutes, but her shot deflected off of Amy Turner’s leg. Beth England had an early chance to open the scoring thanks to a beautiful bit of work by Celin Bizet, but she couldn’t put it away. Other than that, Spurs seemed reluctant to press past halfway. Galton did ultimately open the scoring when Amy Turner played a poor pass back to Korpela under little pressure. Just three minutes later, United struck again off a corner.
United added a third just eight minutes into the second half after Kerys Harrop and Shelina Zadorsky failed to deal with a lofted ball into the box, and Nikita Parris managed to evade them and poke it home. Vicky Jepson’s substitutes were unable to change the game–not Rosella for Jess at half time, nor Ash Neville, Mana Iwabuchi and Ria Percival in the 59th minute, or the long lost Ramona Petzelberger in the 80th.
I won’t talk too much more about this game, because I don’t think we learned anything new. Spurs launched a few promising attacks, but more generally displayed a now-familiar lack of cohesion and decision-making. This season has been an unmitigated disaster–horrible injury luck, months without a win, and the bizarre decision to stick with Vicky Jepson as manager to see out the season. Relegation is still a very real possibility at only three points out of the drop zone with two games left to play. We didn’t need to win this game against United in order to stay up, but we handed them three completely preventable goals–it’s hard not to feel demoralized after that.
Spurs next face Reading (who currently occupy that relegation spot) on May 20th. The game will take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium immediately following the men’s game in an unprecedented double header. As I will not be shelling out for a trans-Atlantic plane ticket given under two weeks notice, you’ll find me watching the game from my couch, peeking between my fingers. Let’s hope we don’t leave the job for the last day.