Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Reading
They love a high-profile debut at Tottenham these days. And this, albeit in the altogether more tranquil surroundings of Barnet’s Hive Stadium, was to be no exception.
More than a few were taken by surprise when the Lilywhites announced the capture of global women’s footballing phenomenon, Alex Morgan. The USA forward – twice a World Cup winner as well as Olympic gold medalists – returned from a year-long hiatus from the game following the berth of her daughter, Charlie, and showed some neat touches after arriving as a substitute midway through the second half of Tottenham’s 1-1 FA Women’s Super League draw with Reading.
“It just feels good to get back on the field for the first time in more than a year, so I’m happy about that,” the 31-year-old Californian enthused.
“Obviously, I’m not too happy about the result but I just had to start to get some minutes and build from there, so I’m pretty happy that this is a good starting point.
Spurs – off the back of four straight defeats – found themselves trailing to Brooke Chaplen’s early header for the Royals, but levelled before the break when Ashleigh Neville nodded home following a succession of corners.
Morgan replaced Rianna Dean for her first taste of English football and provided a focal point as Tottenham toiled for a decisive goal.
On this occasion, that perfect scenario wasn’t to materialise. Nevertheless, Morgan quickly readapted to the rigours of competitive football and insisted there is more to come.
“I felt like there were definitely a lot more sprints than in training,” she added.
“I’ll get used to it pretty quickly but obviously once I came in it was more of a transition game, less possession-orientated, so I’m looking forward to getting into more of the game to settle in a little bit better, because the end of the match was pretty back-and-forth.
“I think my fitness, it’s getting back there, it’s just going to take a little bit of time – obviously with a matter of changing direction, sprints and everything, I’ve just got to get minutes to get game fit.”
The draw left Tottenham in ninth place, still searching for their first league victory of the campaign, but Morgan insisted there were positive signs from her new side.
“I think we were pretty confident coming into the match and obviously having quite a tough run in October, we wanted to get on the right foot after that last Chelsea match (in the Continental League Cup on Tuesday) where we played well but conceded two goals,” she added.
“This week was a really good week of training so we’re unfortunate not to get the three points, but we’ll just build on it and obviously to get a point out of it, it’s better than most of our matches in October.
“Going down 1-0 was obviously disappointing but getting the goal back from the set-piece was important – Ash getting that, I was very happy for her. Our back four had a pretty great game, they kept us in it, unfortunately, I don’t think we got enough chances to really put ourselves ahead of Reading but we’ll work on that and look forward to the next match.”
Tottenham Hotspur: Spencer, Neville, Harrop, Zadorsky, Worm, Kennedy (Sulola 64’), Green (Capt), Percival, Addison (Quinn 87’), Ayane (Leon 46’), Dean (Morgan 69) Subs not used: Whitehouse, Davison, Godfrey
Reading: Moloney, Mitchell, Bartrip, Harding (Capt), Cooper (Leine 17’), Fishlock, Rowe (Woodham 71’), James, Eikeland, Carter, Chaplen (Bruton 71’) Subs not used: Nayler, Skeels, Harries, Childerhouse, Jeon, Quirk
(Quotes courtesy of www.tottenhamhotspur.com)