Derby delight for Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur Women v Arsenal Women – FA Women’s Super League -Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Report

Tottenham Hotspur Women 1-0 Arsenal Women 

Despite being outplayed for most of the match, Martha Thomas netted just before the hour mark as Spurs overcame Arsenal 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to record their first-ever Women’s Super League win over their North London rivals.

In ten previous league and cup matches between the two sides since a 10-0 defeat in their first meeting in 2017, Spurs had lost all but one of the games – whilst never previously keeping a clean sheet.

With championship contenders Arsenal struggling to find their rhythm in the first half, they did not have a shot on target up until the forty-second minute before Frida Maanum forced Spurs Czech keeper Barbora Votikova, making her first appearance of the season since her summer signing from Paris Saint-Germaine, into a fine save.  

Caitlin Foord went close before the break striking the upright and following the resumption, Alessia Russo spurned a fine opportunity when heading wide from just five yards out before Maauum again, wide on the left, fired just inches over the crossbar.

With Spurs soaking up the pressure – whilst also riding their luck as Arsenal pushed forward relentlessly, it was very much against the run of play that they took the lead in the fifty-eighth minute when a clever passing move out of defence saw Scottish international and former Manchester United striker Thomas slide the ball home past Manuela Zinsberger following Celin Bizet’s low cross. 

Having scored six times in her opening four WSL matches, the goal was Thomas’ first in six games.

Despite Jonas Eidevall introducing Vivianne Miedema – still returning to full fitness following an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury – in the sixty-sixth minute, the Gunners, despite having thirty-one shots during the match, were unable to break down the determined home defence.

Spurs were unfortunate not to score again in the final seconds of the game as they broke forward following an Arsenal corner and with keeper Zinsburger stranded upfield after having joined the final attack, it was only a desperate last-ditch tackle that denied Rosella Ayane a close-range tap in before just seconds after, the referee’s whistle sounded to cue Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur to blare out over the loudspeakers in celebration of a battling and memorable win for Robert Vilahamn’s side.

Vilahamn spoke to following the match – “I’m so happy for the girls, how we went in and showed that we wanted to win this game and do it for the Club. 

“We dared to play and we defended so well today. The goal we scored is probably the most beautiful goal I’ve seen – it was so nice, all the way from the build-up to Martha scoring, so I’m really happy.

“If you look at the character this group has and the players – how brave they are to do it – it’s amazing, but also the fans helped us today because of the noise they made and the feeling we get when we get onto this pitch is that we can beat any team here, so it’s a mixture of the players really taking steps and the fans coming and supporting us.”

Tottenham Hotspur: Votíková, James, Bühler (Turner 19′) Bartrip, Neville, Bizet Ildhusøy (Ayane 90+5′) Petzelberger, Graham, Clinton, Thomas (Percival 85′) England (Naz 45′) Subs not used: Zadorsky, Brazil, Ale, Spencer, Pearse

Arsenal: Zinsberger, McCabe (Lacasse 90′) Ilestedt, Wubben-Moy, Catley, Pelova (Cooney-Cross 65′) Wälti (Blackstenius 80′) Mead, Maanum (Miedema 66′) Foord, Russo Subs not used: Beattie, D’Angelo, Maritz, Kühl, Codina

Referee: Cheryl Foster

Assistants: Georgia Ball and Magda Golba

Fourth Official: Megan Wilson

Attendance: 19,480