The pre-game headlines surrounded the respective team sheets, with Manchester City’s immensely strong bench underlining the sheer quality in depth that Gareth Taylor’s side possess. For Spurs, Alex Morgan was missing – not even listed on the bench this time around. However, whilst Tottenham were not able to field the embarrassment of riches that City were, they did boast the impressive Matilda, Alanna Kennedy who was so strong in the North Londoners’ FA Cup Quarter-Final against bitter rivals Arsenal last time out.
Kennedy marked herself out as a class act with an early inch-perfect cross field pass towards team-mate Gemma Davison as Spurs attempted to get a foothold against the perennial FAWSL title chasers with a high press and defensive line in addition to looking to retain possession at all times.
The first chance of the game fell to City after five minutes when former Everton star Chloe Kelly danced round two Spurs defenders cut in and fired in an effort that a diving Rebecca Spencer did well to push away in the Spurs goal. They wasted another opportunity six minutes later as Canadian international Janine Beckie miscued her effort when it seemed all too simple to get a shot in.
City created another effort down the left just after the twenty-minute mark with Kelly again unleashing a shot which went narrowly wide of Spencer’s near post.
A foul on Kit Graham gave Spurs a rare offensive opportunity with a free-kick on their right outside the box, but Siri Worm’s effort couldn’t beat the first defender.
Ellen White had a great effort after twenty-seven minutes when Steph Houghton’s beautifully threaded ball found its way straight into White’s stride with the Lionesses star seeing her shot come crashing off the bar.
City made up for their missed chances when Kelly’s third effort from the left-hand flew in – a real case of third time lucky for the 22-year-old. She unleashed a delightful curling shot from the far edge of the box into the far corner of the net with thirty-three minutes played. Spurs protested as Kit Graham was down injured at the time of the strike, but the goal stood.
City had the best of the remainder of the half with Caroline Weir sending a shot wide and Sam Mewis curling an effort against the far post.
Any hopes of a Spurs comeback were extinguished on fifty-two minutes when a soft penalty was awarded after Gemma Bonner went down after a hand in the back was applied with what looked to be very little force. Chloe Kelly stepped up and sent the ball past Spencer.
Less than sixty seconds later it was 3-0 when Sam Mewis applied the finishing touch as she was played in by Janine Beckie after Chloe Kelly’s shot was blocked and deflected across the goal to the Canadian who found her American team-mate who couldn’t miss.
Mewis came close nine minutes later when she drove through a huge gap in the centre of the Spurs defence, but drove her effort wide. City then hit the woodwork for the third time when Beckie’s free-kick hit the far post.
Just seconds later, from an in swinging corner, Steph Houghton got her head on the ball to send it towards Ellen White who nodded it into the net for the fourth.
Spurs gained some reward for their efforts when Rose Lavelle lost the ball under severe pressure from Alana Kennedy. This allowed Angela Addison to hit an effort which Ellie Roebuck pushed away from a corner. The resulting flag kick saw Anna Filbey bundle the ball in off of her shoulder.
The Spurs goal did not lead to any late dramatic comeback as City remained on the front foot. Gareth Taylor will be frustrated that his side didn’t keep a clean sheet in a game they dominated – but the overall performance and result will be a source of pride as they establish themselves in the top echelons of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League once more.
Manchester City: Roebuck, Bonner, Houghton, Kelly, Beckie, Morgan, White, Weir, Mewis, Walsh, Greenwood. Substitutes: Bardsley (GK), Taieb, Stokes (used), Coombs, Scott (used), Stanway, Park (used), Bronze, Lavelle (used).
Scorers: Kelly 33, 52. Mewis 53. White 69.
Tottenham Hotspur: Spencer, Percival, Zadorsky, Harrop, Worm, Filbey, Green, Kennedy, Graham, Dean, Davison.
Substitutes: Martin (GK), Leon (used), Addison (used), Quinn, Ayane, Godfrey, Neville.
Scorers: Filbey 81.