Match Report – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

This Sunday’s football action on the SWF Blog came from the 4th Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup with 12 sides left in the competition vying for 6 spots in the 5th Round when the 10 FAWSL 1 sides enter the cup. The venue today Cheshunt FC to watch FAWPL Southern Division leaders Tottenham Hotspur Ladies unbeaten in all competitions so far this season take on their biggest test yet FAWSL 2 opposition with Brighton & Hove Albion WFC the visitors.

Match Report – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  This Sunday’s action on the Supporting Women’s Football Blog comes from the 4th Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup the entrants whittled down to just 12 sideLondonontest 6 ties to be joined by the sides from FAWSL 1 that will enter the competition in the 5th Round, today it’s a trip to Cheshunt FC to watch FAWPL Southern Division leaders Tottenham Hotspur Ladies take on the newest side to join the FAWSL, Brighton & Hove Albion WFC.

  Have been trying to get down to see Tottenham Hotspur Ladies play twice so far in 2017 but the weather has put pay to that both times around, they are enjoying a fabulous season so far are undefeated in all competitions with just the one draw in the league to date. Into the semi-finals of the Capital Women’s Cup and FAWPL Cup where they are defending the trophy. Have also reached the Boux Avenue Final for the 3rd consecutive season. A tough challenge today against FAWSL opposition in the cup as Tottenham look to be one of the few remaining FAWPL sides to make it into the 5th Round Proper. 

  Tottenham Hotspur Ladies entered this season’s FA Women’s Cup in the 1st Round Proper of the competition were drawn at home to Leyton Orient WFC a single goal scored by Wendy Martin taking the FAWPL Southern Division leaders through to the 2nd Round Proper where they were drawn at home playing FAWPL South East Division One side, Gillingham FC Ladies a much more comfortable result winning 3-0 to set up a long away trip to play FAWPL Northern Division leaders Blackburn Rovers Ladies. The sides level at 1-1 going into 2nd half injury time Bianca Baptiste scored for Tottenham in the 93rd minute to seal a 2-1 victory and a home draw in the 4th Round against Brighton & Hove Albion WFC.

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC did last season what Tottenham are hope to achieve this time around, win the FAWPL Southern Division title. Went on to beat Sporting Club Albion Ladies in the FAWPL Play-off game back in May last year. Making their bow in the FAWSL 2 Spring Series last Saturday earning a 1-1 draw away to London Bees. Played their 1st competitive match of the season in the previous round of the FA Women’s Cup before that the FAWSL 2 sides entering the competition in the 3rd Round Proper were drawn away to FAWPL South East Division One side, AFC Wimbledon Ladies won the game 4-1 to advance to the next round.

  Cheshunt FC  the venue for today’s FA Women’s Cup tie, the pitch a good size showing a little wear has seen alot of football this season, was nevertheless firm and dry underfoot. The weather has been poor at the start of 2017 plenty of matches called off but no danger of that this Sunday a fairly mild day for February dark clouds overhead a hint of a light shower but nothing else as the two sides walked out onto the pitch.

  Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI – Toni-Anne Wayne, Renee Hector, Jenna Schillaci (C), Leah Rawle, Lucia Leon, Josie Green, Sophie McLean, Riana Soobadoo, Bianca Baptiste, Nikita Whinnett & Wendy Martin.
  subs – Megan Lynch, Kelley Blanchflower, Maya Vio & Eartha Pond.

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC starting XI – Emma Byrne, Jenna Legg, Sophie Perry (C), Vicki Ashton-Jones, Charlotte Young, Kirsty Barton, Laura Rafferty, Lucy Somes, Alessia Russo, Kate Natkiel & Amy Taylor.

  subs – Leah Samain, Hollie Olding, Bronwen Thomas & Ellie Dorey

   It’s Brighton to get today’s FA Women’s Cup tie underway kicking off 1st half wearing orange shirts, white shorts and socks with Tottenham lined up opposite wearing white shirts, navy shorts and socks. Right from the 1st Brighton touch Tottenham move in quickly to press the ball winning possession the ball is played forwards up to Wendy Martin in attack inside the box is played back to Nikita Whinnett who joined the club from Charlton Athletic Women in the summer, outside the area is closed down go Jenna Legg as she looks to turn in behind the ball lost is picked up by Leah Rawle getting forwards from the back for Tottenham drives with the ball at her feet down the left wing squaring a high cross into the Brighton six yard box is comfortably claimed by goalkeeper, Emma Byrne.

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Wendy Martin

  Brighton get hold of the ball as it is played into the feet of Kate Natkiel helps it on out to the right wing with Alessia Russo getting forwards cutting back inside as she reaches the top of the Tottenham box cuts across her shot as she sends the ball goalwards causing it it swerve away from goal landing in the side netting. The game has started at a rapid tempo no one afforded much time on the ball, winning it at the back Tottenham captain Jenna Schillaci plays it long through the middle with Whinnett making a central run getting clear of the Brighton centre-backs, Byrne is well placed at the top of the area to gather before the striker can capitalise.

   Lucia Leon is forwards on the right for Tottenham as the home side builds an attack has support from Sophie McLean they exchange passes 25 yards out before Leon threaded a diagonal ball into the box looking for Martin near post, looks to see the ball across her body intending to take a shot, Whinnett slips her marker making a move for the ball leaning into the shot reaches it before Martin sends her effort curling wide of the post. 

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Nikita Whinnett

  Tottenham playing 3 at the back are playing a high line, looks risky if the opposition can get in behind however they drop back very quickly went their opponents regain the ball and with Josie Green playing just in front of the back 3 the defenders either side of Schillaci, Renee Hector and Rawle can move across to deal with their respective wide players. In attack Whinnett and Bianca Baptiste on the right side are providing the width but the Brighton defence is well organised and the final ball from both sides is being won by a defender in the early exchanges. 


Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
captain Jenna Schillaci

Leon get’s hold of the ball inside the Brighton half for Tottenham rolls it on for Baptiste down the right wing taking the ball down to the byline into the area her attempted cross is charged down by Vicki Ashton-Jones as she goes to ground the ball rebounding back to Baptiste tries again playing the ball in towards the near post is scooped up on the bounce by Byrne. A quick counter attack the ball played into midfield Laura Rafferty plays it to Lucy Somes on the left side playing it on for Amy Taylor the striker with Hector on her shoulder heads for the box left of goal is past the onrushing keeper but play is brought back as Taylor fouled hector in the process.

  Russo closes down Schillaci taking the ball from the defender as she tries to bring it out from the back running in behind takes on the shot from outside the box, her low drive stopped by goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne diving to her left. Green carries the ball forwards for Tottenham passing it onto Riana Soobadoo ahead of her sends the ball out towards Baptiste on the right a burst of pace before playing a pacey cross in towards martin moving towards the near post, can’t get a touch as the ball runs across her races across the face of goal and out of play for a goal-kick at the far post.

  Brighton captain, Sophie Perry is allowed to travel with the ball on the left plays it on for Somes ahead of her comes in field before rolling the ball across to Taylor outside the box, her 1st time strike is blocked by Schillaci. End to end Tottenham soon have the ball up the other end over the top with Baptiste giving chase Byrne plays the ball wide attempting to put it out for a throw is retrieved by Martin who plays it back in to Baptiste 25 yards out takes on the strike her shot sailing over the bar. Brighton are getting a little frustrated are pinned back inside their half with Tottenham pressing all over the park can’t get anything to stick higher up the pitch. 

Nikita Whinnett holds Brighton captain, Sophie Perry off the ball

  Somes is fouled wide on the left with around 10 minutes of the 1st half left, Charlotte Young makes a late run to get up into the area from the back as Perry delivers the ball into the area, is over Young dropping for Hector beyond her clearance is picked up by Natkiel 25 yards out drives the ball low into the area, is blocked too many bodies to go through, running out of play the referee gives a goal-kick. The 1st corner of the game doesn’t come until the 37th minute going to Tottenham, Martin forcing the error from Young the set-piece comes to nothing. 

Brighton’s Amy Taylor looks to get the better of Tottenham’s Jenna Schillaci

  Leon steals in to win the ball inside the Brighton half getting it forwards produces a defence splitting pass to thread the ball in towards Martin centrally positioned inside the area, Legg with a superb recovering tackle gets across in the nick of time to take the ball away from Martin’s toes Young clearing the ball from the area. The last 5 minutes of the 1st half is full of promising attacks but both defences working hard to stop the final ball see very little action inside the box. Late on into injury time in the 1st half Natkiel getting the ball out to Russo right earns Brighton a throw-in, played in towards Russo outside the Tottenham area turns in field heading for the box jinks right avoiding Rawle’s lunging challenge then rifles her shot over the crossbar.

 Half-time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  An intriguing 1st half an entertaining game so far 2 closely matched sides testing each other out, few chances created in the match despite both sides constantly looking for an opening. Tottenham have edged the chances in front of goal although neither goalkeeper has been tested yet. Beautifully poised the 2nd half could go either way. 
  No changes for either side although Rafferty has a bandaged knee following a knock picked up in the 1st half for Brighton. Tottenham to get the 2nd half started. Have the early possession McLean playing the ball forwards into Martin with Whinnett close by, outside the area a shot comes in runs wide of goal.
  Tottenham have a throw-in high up the pitch on the right the ball is played into Whinnett’s feet turning inside pushes for the box right of goal unleashes a shot flies across Byrne positioned centrally, strikes the far post and rebounds out towards Baptiste racing into the area throws herself at the ball, flies up over Byrne coming down off the crossbar Brighton struggle to get it clear coming back to Baptiste has another go a wild strike flies high over the bar. 
  Rafferty getting the ball forwards has Somes in space out wide left picks her out with a well timed long pass, Somes looks to control and come inside top of the area thread the ball into Taylor in a central position, Leon has support from Soobadoo as the pair get back to squeeze Somes off the ball before she can deliver the final ball. Brighton push numbers forwards with purpose in the next attack the ball from Barton out to the right lifted into the area Taylor hitting it on the run is blocked at close range the rebound falling favourably for Tottenham to clear. 
 GOAL! 12 minutes played in the 2nd half and the deadlock is broken, Tottenham have a throw up on the the right inside the Brighton half the ball is played into Whinnett who comes inside with the ball 25 yards out across the face of the area rolls the ball into Martin back to goal inside the area turns her shot blocked by Ashton-Jones closely marking her the ball is cleared out to the left going straight to Baptiste, takes on the shot from distance her strike flying over Byrne and under the bar into the back of the net to give Tottenham the lead 1-0. 
Tottenham’s Bianca Baptiste with Brighton’s Charlotte Young
  McLean is fouled as she holds the ball up wide on the right Tottenham send players forwards into the box as Hector stands over the set-piece the ball is flighted in to the area with Whinnett making a run from the penalty spot to the near post, the delivery too close to Byrne the goalkeeper can get her gloves firmly around the ball 1st. Whinnett on the ball a powerful run on the right lays the pass inside for McLean 25 yards out central sends a high ball into the box, Byrne calls and claims it with Martin in behind her. 
  Young sends the ball long from the back for Brighton with Somes giving chase into the left corner coming back up the pitch plays it across the top of the area into Barton, shifts it looking for room to play a pass sending it on for Natkiel top of the D puts the ball into the area with Taylor after it, Green is ahead of her looks to shield the ball out of play as it runs wide, gets a shove from Taylor a bit of afters sees Taylor yellow carded. Natkiel gets possession of the ball on the right pushing forwards her cross into the area is headed away by Rawle, dropping towards Barton outside the area, has no time to see the ball down onto the floor goes for the acrobatic sends the ball goalwards too high however whistles over the bar.
Brighton & Hove Albion WFC’s, Kirsty Barton
 The game is stretched the tempo hasn’t dropped in the slightest, Brighton pressing looking for an equaliser, Tottenham wanting a 2nd goal. Ashton-Jones fouls Whinnett on halfway, Baptiste over the ball floats it up towards the top of the area, Young headers clear, falling to Soobadoo hits it back in along the ground, blocked then cleared. Legg is fouled as she brings the ball forwards giving Brighton a free-kick 35 yards out, Perry on the ball goes for goal, Wayne can see the ball run wide of goal. Tottenham make their 1st change on 71 minutes bringing on Maya Vio for Soobadoo. 
Brighton’s Jenna Legg is fouled as she brings the ball forwards
  Brighton respond with a double change on 76 minutes with Rafferty and Somes the players coming off, Bronwen Thomas and Hollie Olding. Martin and Whinnett try a one two outside the area Ashton-Jones nips in to tackle and win the ball. Russo is playing through the middle now for Brighton supporting Taylor with Natkiel left, Thomas right win a corner, Tottenham defend well threaten to counter attack, Barton wins the ball back. The ball is played out to Thomas attacking down the right fizzes a cross in towards the near post getting down falling onto the ball Wayne spills her initial save but recovers quickly to get up smother the ball with Taylor closing in. 
Brighton & Hove Albion WFC
captain, Sophie Perry
  Perry brings the ball on down the left for Brighton her cross is cut back towards the top of the area controlled well by Thomas just inside the area plays it back to Natkiel lays it out to Legg coming in from the right her ball lifted into the area runs wide at the near post. Perry again up the left for Natkiel who plays it inside to Russo sees Wayne off her line tries the lob from distance but off target bounces wide of goal. Baptiste run of running gets across from the left to the right winning a throw-in for Tottenham the ball is played into McLean plays it into Whinnett central takes on the shot places the ball straight into Byrne who holds onto the ball. 
  Into the closing minutes Brighton break down the right Russo with the ball at her feet sends in a low drive angling into the bottom corner, Wayne dives full stretch across her goal to get a glove to the ball push it with a vital save to keep Tottenham’s lead intact. Tottenham defend the corner kick. Brighton push everyone forwards late into the game everyone bar their keeper in the Tottenham half, risk the counter but need the goal get hit on the break Whinnett getting in behind on the right holds the ball up well before playing in inside to Martin a good turn before playing it on for Baptiste coming in from the left her goal bound effort blocked by Legg. 
  Into injury time and the last place Brighton want the ball is with the Tottenham attackers in the corner. The home side do a great job of keeping the ball there to see out the game and win, Bianca Baptiste’s strike enough to see the FAWPL Southern Division side into the 5th Round of the FA Women’s Cup.
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies celebrate at the final whistle
Full time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  A really good contest to watch this one, 2 very good sides, a single goal enough to win the game, Tottenham continuing their excellent run of form, can see why they are doing so well and glad I got down to see them at last this season. Brighton created chances but not much inside the box, prevented very little inside their box as well both sides pressing the ball Tottenham just had the extra bit of movement in their legs to get the result on the day.
SWF Blog – Player of the Match

  A good all round team performance from Tottenham today, a well taken goal from Baptiste, however today’s SWF Blog Player of the Match goes to Josie Green in midfield covered plenty of ground in front of the defence stifling Brighton’s attack winning the ball and a range of pass to turn a defensive position into a rapid attack.
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Josie Green
  My thanks to Tottenham for helping me out with the teams today.
 *UPDATE* The draw for the 5th Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup will see Tottenham Hotspur Ladies play FAWSL 1 side Arsenal Ladies away from home in a North London derby on the weekend of 18th/19th March.