Matchday 15: Reading vs Tottenham

After what seems like an eternity, the WSL is back. Tottenham travelled to 6th place Reading as our Lilywhites looked to take third place back from a Manchester United who beat Leicester this weekend 4-0 to go third. Tottenham last took on Reading in September, where our Lilywhites ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a Naz goal 5 minutes from time. 

Tottenham have had a slow start to 2022 but seem to have found their way again after beating Brighton 4-0 and defeating Birmingham 2-0 at ST Andrew’s. Highlights of that match can be seen below.

Video by Spurs TV.

News.

Tottenham fans got a boost this week when @spurswomen posted a photo of Kit Graham on her road to fitness after suffering a horrific injury against West Ham back in November.

Photo: @spurswomen Twitter

We wish Kit a speedy recovery and hope to see her back for the start of the 2022-23 season.

In other news, the Barclays Player of the Month was announced this week with our very own Ash Neville taking the award.

Photo: @spurswomen Twitter.

This is the first time a Tottenham player has won this award and it goes to show how far this group of players have come. We would like to wish Ash a HUGE congratulations on this award and hope that this is the first of many for this club. 

Finally, three Tottenham matches have been chosen for live TV. The first match will be Tottenham vs Manchester City, which will be shown live on BBC Two on Sunday, March 13th at 12.30. Our rescheduled match with Chelsea from Kingsmeadow will be shown on Sky Sport on Wednesday 23rd at 19.45. Finally, the month ends with the North London Derby. Our match with Arsenal has been moved to Saturday, March 26th and will now take place at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, March 26th at 14.15 with the match being shown on BBC One.

Tickets for the North London Derby can be purchased at https://www.eticketing.co.uk/arsenal/EDP/Event/Index/2989. Tottenham fans will be occupying the East Section 18 from rows 5 upwards.

Lineups.

Reading 4-4-2: Moloney in goal, Bryson in at right-back, Evans and Cooper in the centre of defence with Woodham at left-back. The Reading midfield was made of Harding down the right-wing, Eikeland and Vanhaevermaet in the centre of midfield with Rowe down the left-wing. The Reading front two was made of Dowie and Rose.

Tottenham 4-3-3: Korpela in goal, Ale in at right-back, Bartrip and Zadorsky on the centre of defence with Harrop in at left-back. The Tottenham midfield was made of Summanen, Percival and Clemaron. The Tottenham front three was made of Neville down the left, Simon down the right and William in the number 9 role.

First half.

Tottenham started the strongest of the two teams and got their first chance of the game in the 4th minute when Neville was denied by Moloney after good play by Percival down the left. Tottenham continued to dominate possession as Reading struggled to get out of their half. Tottenham came close again in the 14th minute when Percival broke loose down the right-wing, crossing deep into the Reading box but an unmarked Simon was unable to get a touch to the ball. Rachel Williams came close in the 21st minute when Simon picked out Williams however her diving header was off target.

Tottenham had calls for a penalty turned away two minutes later when Moloney beat Percival to a long Neville ball but clashed with Percival preventing the Kiwi from latching into the loose ball. A minute later Tottenham came close again, this time Ale found Percival with a cross but her header was well saved by Moloney to keep the score at 0-0. Reading started to settle into the game in the 30th minute as Rowe started to see more of the ball for the hosts as she tried to get Reading into the game. 

Photo: @spurswomen Twitter.

Tottenham continued to push forward and look for the opening goal and came close in the 37th minute when a quick Bartrip free-kick found Neville down the left. Her cross was headed away by Evans only as far as Simon who tried to find Percival unmarked but Reading recovered well and her pass was blocked and put out to safety. Reading’s first effort came in the 39th minute when a rare Reading attack led to an Eikeland half volley but quick reflexes by Korpela denied the Norwegian. Reading kept pushing forward in the closing 5 minutes and came close again in the 41st minute when Harding volleyed unmarked in the Tottenham box but her effort flew just over Korpela’s bar.

The 4th official indicated a minimum of 5 minutes injury time but Tottenham didn’t sit back. Reading did almost grab a goal at the end when a Woodham corner almost flew straight into the Tottenham net, but an alert Korpela was able to get a hand to the ball to deny Reading. Tottenham came close once again in the 4th minute of injury time when Williams latched onto a long ball, twisting and turning Evans before getting her shot away but just missed Moloney’s left/hand post. A minute later, Tottenham came close again with Neville down the right who hit a cross-shot looping over Moloney and hitting the back post before being cleared to safety by the Reading defence.

Second half.

Reading started the second half brighter as they looked to gain control of the midfield while Tottenham looked to find their rhythm again. Tottenham again had claims for a penalty turned away in the 50th minute when Summanen broke through the Reading defence and was shoved by Rowe. Much to everyone’s surprise, the referee gave a free kick in favour of Reading. Rowe looked like Reading’s most lively player as she got behind the Tottenham defence on a couple of occasions but great defending by Bartrip denied Rowe with a last-minute tackle to deny a one on one opportunity for the hosts.

Tottenham started to get back into the game and had a half-chance in the 54th minute when Williams latched onto a long Ale ball but Moloney was quick off her line to deny Williams from getting her shot away. Tottenham continued to pressure the Reading defence as Cleamaron found Percival with a clever chip before receiving the ball back and shooting from distance but her effort sailed over.

Photo: @spurswomen Twitter.

Reading was almost punished in the 57th minute when a Woodham ball was intercepted by Percival, Williams was unable to get to the loose ball before Moloney rushed off her line as Reading was let off the hook. Zadorksy got a half chance for Tottenham in the 69th minute when a Summanen free-kick found Clemaron who then found Zadorksy down the left before unleashing a shot from distance but her effort flew over Moloney’s bar.

Reading came close and should have taken the lead in the 72nd minute with a counter, Evans somehow skied the ball unmarked from point-blank range. Tottenham came close again in the 75th minute when a Percival cross took a heavy deflection off Rose. The ball bounced awkwardly over Moloney as Cooper let the ball bounce over her head before being cleared off the line. Tottenham claimed the ball had crossed the line but without VAR, Tottenham was again denied an opportunity to take the lead.

Tottenham pushed forward and finished the game the stronger of the two teams. Summanen came close again for Tottenham in the 85th minute when a Harrop attack down the left found the Fin but she couldn’t get enough power behind her effort. Reading caught Tottenham with a counter in the 87th minute with Rose down the left before finding Harding with a cross but Harrop was quick to cover and managed to get a block in before she was able to pull the trigger. The 4th official indicated a minimum of 3 minutes injury time as Tottenham continued to dominate possession. Reading had a claim for a penalty turned away in the 91st minute when Neville got a last-minute tackle in to win the ball cleanly but Reading claims for a foul was denied. Tottenham came straight back at Reading and had the final chance of the game with a Summanen shot from distance but was unable to curl her effort as it flew just wide of Moloney’s post before the game was brought to an end.

Photo: @spurswomen Twitter.

Player of the match.

Tottenham gave it their all luck just wasn’t on their side. Percival, Bartrip, Clemaron and ale all impressed for our Lilywhites but we feel Summanen just takes our award for the player of the match. Summanen was everywhere she pushed forward, created chances, helped out in defence and came close to scoring on a few occasions.

Photo: @spurswomen Twitter.

Post match analysis.

Tottenham gave one of the best performances of the season against Reading, unfortunately, luck was not on their side. Tottenham had the ball cleared off the line, 2 penalty claims turned away and hit the post but were just unable to get the ball in the back of the net. The starting 11 could be questioned but once again we saw how bad luck and a lack of firepower upfront cost Tottenham a chance to go 2nd in the WSL.

Credit to Reading for being well organised and holding strong but luck was on their side in a game where it looked like only one team was most likely to take the victory. Reading had a few chances against the run of play and could have cruelly taken all 3 points but luckily for Tottenham the few times that Reading countered, Korpela and the Tottenham defence was alert to deny the hosts. 

Tottenham’s subs came a little too late in the game with Cho coming on for Percival in the 77th minute and Addison coming in for Ale in the 84th minute. We would have liked to see Tang introduced as these are games that should be won especially with the tough 3 matches that face Tottenham throughout Match. Williams hasn’t scored for Tottenham since December and needs support upfront. She missed a couple of sitters and did not chase the ball down unless it was played to her feet. We hope we see a change-up top next week against City as we need to take advantage of the few opportunities that we will get.

After this draw, it’s safe to say that our chase for Champions League football has now come to an end. We can still be proud of the team and hope improvements will be made in the summer as we look to improve on what’s been a fantastic season in the WSL. Anything is possible in football and our Lilywhites may take something against City, Chelsea or Arsenal but if they fail then we can all still be proud. We will continue to have faith and believe in the team and hope Tottenham can take something next Sunday against City. COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

Next match.

After a month of waiting, Tottenham are back at the Hive. The match has been chosen for live broadcast and will be shown on Sunday Match 13th at 12.30 live on BBC2. Tickets for the match and all remaining home WSL matches can be purchased over at https://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/tickets/buy-tickets/women/match-tickets/.

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