Manchester City Women edged a tight game against Spurs as Caroline Weir’s second half goal gave the blues a 1-0 victory at The Hive.
The blues have lost just once in the WSL since November, but a trip to Spurs, who before today’s game were five points clear of City, was always going to be difficult. Despite beating Spurs 3-0 on their way to wining the League Cup, the blues were looking to inflict defeat on the London side after Spurs controversially beat the blues at the Academy Stadium in September.
Manager Gareth Taylor decided to name the same team that overcame Chelsea last weekend at Plough Lane to end Emma Hayes side’s dominance in domestic competitions but struggled on occasions to break down a stubborn and determined home defence.
Both teams were looking for maximum points as they chase down United, who currently occupy the third Champions League spot, but it was City who had the game’s first real chance of the opening stages. Keira Walsh’s superb long pass found Lauren Hemp in space down the left wing, and the youngster cut inside but saw her shot blocked after some desperate defending by the home side.
Both sides had chances as Ellie Roebuck was called into action on a couple of occasions, while Hayley Raso caused Spurs a few problems down the right. But the first half provided little opportunity for goals, with Ellen White snatching at a chance at the end of the half.
In recent matches against United and Chelsea, City have been potent after the interval, and it was the same again at The Hive. The blues pressed Spurs back in their own half and limited their chances of breaking, with Raso again causing problems, while Georgia Stanway began to impose her authority in midfield.
Weir hit the post with a superb free-kick and Raso forced Rebecca Spencer into a smart stop as City knocked on the door.
And it was the same two that combined to create the only goal of the game. Lucy Bronze’s charge forward saw the Spurs defence back-peddling and her pass released Raso down the right. Her cross was failed to be cleared by the Spurs defence and Weir dragged the ball out from under her feet and bundled home from close range.
It was a scrappy finish, nowhere near the quality strikes that beat Chelsea and United recently, but she nor anyone else in the City team would care, as long as the ball hit the back of the goal.
Raso made way for Jess Park shortly after the goal and the livewire youngster took over from where the Australian left off. And Park would have been frustrated when City won the ball back in the Spurs half and Stanway charged forward but, with Park completely unmarked, Stanway went for goal and saw her shot go narrowly over the bar.
City looked to play down the clock and Ellie Roebuck was booked for timewasting from a goal-kick. That came after the England keeper was involved in a collision with Ashleigh Neville. Roebuck claimed a cross, but Neville was committed to attacking the ball and crashed into the young keeper, and Roebuck was down for several minutes before being allowed to play on.
The Sheffield born star was on the floor in the 86th minute again and seemed to have an issue with her eyes, with manager Taylor signalling a swap for the even younger Khiara Keating as a precaution. And while City defending the youngster and attempted to seal the points, Spurs offered little, and it was a deserved victory for the blues, despite the referee finding an extra minute to add to the allotted six!
The result leaves City just two points behind Spurs with a game in hand and will leapfrog the London side if they beat Reading at the Academy Stadium in Wednesday evening. The blues remain five points behind United, but still have a game in hand and, with the reds still to go to Chelsea and an improving Aston Villa, the blues are still in with a chance of Champions League qualification.
Final Score: Tottenham Hotspur Women 0-1 Manchester City Women.