Manchester City Women put the disappointment of their Champions League exit behind them as they beat Spurs to keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea. An own-goal from Becky Spencer and a strike from Janine Beckie was added to in the second half by Caroline Weir, as City ensured Chelsea would not run away with the league.
It was an expected response from the blues who, despite winning their midweek match against Barcelona, City exited having lost 3-0 in Spain a week earlier, and with their European dreams over for another season, City immediately focussed on keeping pace with the current WSL champions, who had earlier beaten Birmingham City 6-0.
And the two strongest teams in the WSL have now made it a straight fight for the title, however the expected showdown in Manchester will have to be delayed due to Chelsea’s continued involvement in the Champions League, meaning the title may well go down to the final day of the season.
But the latest task was to navigate past Spurs without the defensive trio of Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood, the latter having to withdraw after being injured in the warm-up. Instead, Aoife Mannion lining up alongside Abby Dahlkemper, with Esme Morgan and Georgia Stanway making up the defensive line.
And it was Stanway who also gave the blues the perfect start with a long-range effort that hammered against the crossbar with the keeper well beaten. But that reprieve for Spurs was short-lived as City took the lead after five minutes. Chloe Kelly’s corner flew over everyone and was destined for the back of the goal, helped along the way by Spencer who failed to deal with it.
City continued to press, looking for further goals that may be vital in the season run-in, but Beckie and Ellen White both missed opportunities to increase City’s lead. However the blues dominance of the home side would produce further goals and when Sam Mewis’ defence splitting pass set Beckie clear, there was only one outcome.
It was a goal that started with City on the defensive with keeper Ellie Roebuck finding Dahlkemper. The American star found Mewis, who controlled the ball, before sending Beckie on her way with a delightful pass between two Spurs defenders. The Canadian took two touches before finding the bottom corner with an excellent finish to send the blue 2-0 in at the break.
City started the second half in the sae, dominant manner and had appeals for a penalty turned down when a goalmouth scramble appeared to hit the arm of a Spurs defender, but the referee pointed for a corner.
The blues poured forward again and Beckie was the architect of City’s third goal, alongside some unselfish play by Kelly. Beckie’s collected a brilliant Crossfield pass by Stanway and her cross into the box was missed by two Spurs defenders. Kelly collected the ball and squared into the path of Weir, via a clever dummy from Mewis, and the Scot calmly stroked home number three.
City had further chances to increase the scoreline and substitute Lauren Hemp, who missed the Barcelona match due to an ear infection, almost made it four in the dying minutes.
But three was enough to keep the blues two points behind the leaders. The blues face Birmingham at home on 2nd May and travel to West Ham on 9th May. Win both of those matches and it will all come down to the rearranged home match against Chelsea to decide the title.
Final Score: Tottenham Hotspur Women 0-3 Manchester City Women