Manchester City Women’s miserable week continued as Spurs claimed a controversial win at the Academy Stadium. Lauren Hemp’s 6th minute goal was cancelled out by a second half strike from Rachel Williams, before an own goal by Benameur Taieb, following a blatant handball, gave the visitors the points.
The blues were looking to build on last week’s impressive 4-0 opening day victory over Everton, and put the disappointment of losing their Champions League qualifying tie to Real Madrid firmly behind them. Following that defeat, manager Gareth Taylor said the bleus will now concentrate on domestic success, setting their sights on a second WSL title.
And things had looked so rosy for City when Hemp scored her first goal of the season after just five minutes. Alex Greenwood’s in-swinging corner found Hemp completely unmarked at the near post, and the winger flicked her header into the far corner to give the bleus the best possible start to the game.
Hemp stole away and wasn’t tracked by any Spurs defenders, and all she had to do was guide the ball over the defence and City were in front.
Esme Morgan then had to leave the field with an ankle injury after a clash Ashleigh Neville, adding to City’s extensive injury list.
City dominated the first half and should have had more, with Hemp firing wide and Georgia Stanway hitting the post, while Spencer in the Spurs goal did well to deny Ellen White her first goal of the season.
Spurs stunned the City crowd in the 61st minute, when Chioma Ubogagu was set free on the Spurs left and her cutback was met by the first time strike of Williams and Spurs were level. No one picked up the run from Williams, who had time and space to pick her spot and fire past Benameur to level the scores.
Both teams went for the win, with the visitors growing in confidence after that Williams goal, with Jess Naz and Stanway both going close to giving their respective teams the lead.
But City would rue those missed first half chances, and in such dramatic and controversial style in the 86th minute when a cross from the Spurs right was knocked onto Steph Houghton by the hands of Rosella Ayane. The ball hit the post, before hitting the legs of Benameur and nestled into the back of the City goal. To the surprise of Taylor, the City girls and the watching crowd, the goal was given and Spurs were in front.
It was clear to anyone watching that Ayane lead with her hands, yet the officials somehow didn’t see it.
White had a chance soon after that went wide, and City fell to a second successive home defeat, leaving them seventh in the table.
It may still be early days, but no doubt this result, which follows hot on the heels of the defeat to Real, will only increase the pressure on manager Taylor, who now has two weeks to find a winning formula before taking his team to a rejuvenated Arsenal side.
Final score: Manchester City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur