Manchester City Women 1, Tottenham Women 2
Manchester City lost their 33-game unbeaten WSL home record to a freak own goal after Tottenham goalkeeper Becky Spencer singlehandedly kept them in the game.
Lauren Hemp put City into an early lead while Georgia Stanway hit the post but after City were denied several goals by Spurs keeper Spencer and wasted several other chances to score the visitors equalised in the second half through Rachel Williams before going on to win it through a late disputed own goal by Karima Taieb involving blatant handballs in the build-up which were missed by the match officials.
Spencer’s saves from Ellen White, Alanna Kennedy, Georgia Stanway, and Khadija Shaw helped the visitors to win an unexpected point at the City Football Academy while debutant Filippa Angeldahl blazed over a chance to win it before the ball went in off Taieb to seal a shock win for Spurs after both teams played a combined 15 minutes of injury time across both halves.
The fact that City could not convert more than 1 of their 18 shots on goal, 6 on target, from 66% of the possession, will hurt badly as Spurs – who had two shots on target from 6 in the game – celebrated at the end of a rain-soaked injury hit game.
Defeat was another blow for City’s season as their unbeaten home record – stretching to 33 games – came to an end as they dropped to 7th in the Women’s Super League.
City boss Gareth Taylor was surprised at the blatant handball at the end not being spotted.
“I have seen it – it’s pretty incredible.
“The game was in our hands and we should have been out of sight by the time it got to that ands it shooed have been a consolation for them.
“There were a couple of dodgy reffing decisions but the result is on us.
“If the officials were to see that back I’m pretty certain to say that they would say that goal should not stand.
“It doesn’t help us, we had it last season – the handball at Chelsea and the penalty against us by Chelsea.
”We’re only in round 2 of the WSL and there’s been some pretty contentious decisions in the game.”
But he was hopeful of good news for Esme Morgan, adding:
“I’m a bit in the dark, she was sat up and in good spirits but she went off to have an X-Ray.
“She was meant to go away on international duty but she took a knock on her right shin.
“Fingers crossed there’s no break.”
City made four changes to the side that lost to Real Madrid in midweek with manager Gareth Taylor handing a debut to Alanna Kennedy against her former side along with starts for Janine Beckie, Georgia Stanway, and Ellen White.
Demi Stokes, Caroline Weir, Hayley Raso, and Khadija Shaw were the players to miss out – Weir and Raso were nursing injuries – but Stokes and Shaw joined new signing Fillipa Angeldahl on the bench after she received international clearance to complete her move to City.
And City’s reshuffled side saw Alex Greenwood start at left back with Kennedy at centre back with Stanway patrolling midfield.
The chances started coming early for City, with Ellen White winning a corner after 4 minutes.
Greenwood’s corner was headed home by Lauren Hemp who rose unchallenged to head the ball past Becky Spencer with a near post header to give City a dream start.
But there was a lengthy delay after Esme Morgan stayed down after fouling Ashleigh Neville with a freak injury.
Morgan was stretchered off and replaced by Angeldahl after just 14 minutes as City reshuffled with Stanway moving to right back with the Swede replacing her in midfield.
Hemp continued to provide dangerous balls from the left, as Spurs could not deal with her pace down the City left flank.
Stanway rapped the post after cutting in from the right and also shot wide while the inventive Angeldahl laid on a sitter for White which was tipped over the bar by Spencer with the home side utterly dominant.
Jessica Naz won Spurs first corner off Kennedy after 37 minutes of fruitless running but the set piece wasn’t good enough to trouble City.
Beckie blazed over deep into eight minutes of first half injury time and Kennedy saw a chance to convert a Losada corner with another near post header saved by Spencer as City continued to waste chances to score.
Bizarre own goal wins it for Tottenham Women
Spurs made a change at the break – Josie Green was replaced by Chioma Ubogagu after Green had taken a knock just before half time.
Ubogagu won a corner from which Asmita Ale’s tame shot was wide and unable to trouble Karima Taieb as Spurs made a decent start to the second half.
Beckie forced another save from Spencer following a short free kick routine with Greenwood.
Ria Percival’s shot in the 57th minute was Spurs’ first shot on goal – easily saved by Taieb – as the visitors dealt better with City’s attacks and could afford to go on the break.
Kit Graham replaced Kyah Simon and Spurs equalised against the run of play immediately after the change when Graham found Naz on the left flank.
Rachel Williams converted Naz’s cross after the cutback evaded everyone to reach her and she almost returned the favour to Naz a couple of minutes later but the winger fired wide when clean through.
Janine Beckie was replaced by Jess Park as City had to go again but they were being thwarted by Spurs.
Hemp was fairly tackled by Mollie Bartrip as she claimed for a penalty with City upping a gear.
Kennedy was withdrawn for Shaw with 17 minutes to go as City had to go for it.
And despite a siege for City they only had a chance for Stanway which was saved by Spencer to show for it while Angeldahl blazed over after Hemp cut the ball back for her.
Those saves by Spencer would come back to haunt City as there was a shock own goal for City when the ball came off Steph Houghton, off her own post, and finally in off the luckless Karima Taieb despite strong suspicion of handball in the build-up from Rosella Ayane and Houghton.
Without VAR, though, the bizarre goal stood.
Shaw was defied by Spencer in the 89th minute but while City pushed hard for a late equaliser there was to be no reprieve for City after 7 additional minutes of injury time.
GOALS – Manchester City Women 1, Tottenham Women 2
Man City Women 1, Tottenham Women 0: 5. Lauren Hemp was found easily by Alex Greenwood whose near post header looped over everyone into the Spurs goal.
Man City Women 1, Tottenham Women 1: 61. Rachel Williams converted Jessica Naz’s cross after the cutback evaded everyone to reach her.
Man City Women 1, Tottenham Women 2: 87. A deflected ball off Steph Houghton as she tried to clear Angela Addison’s cross came back off the post and in off City goalkeeper Karima Taieb in a freak goal despite strong suspicion of offside from Rosella Ayane and Houghton.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City Women 1, Tottenham Women 2
Man City Women: Taieb, Morgan (Angeldahl 14), Houghton, Kennedy (Shaw 73), Greenwood, Coombes, Stanway, Losada, Beckie (Park 62), Hemp, White
Man City Women subs not used: Keating, Stokes, Scott, Mace
Booking: Morgan 11 (foul on Ashleigh Neville)
Goal: Hemp 5
Tottenham Women: Spencer, Ale, Bartrip, Zadorsky (C) (Harrop 90+4), Williams (Ayane 81), Clemaron, Green (Ubogagu 46), Neville, Simon (Graham 60), Percival, Naz (Addison 82)
Tottenham Women subs not used: Korpela, Morgan, Cho, Tang
Booking: Neville (time wasting 90+5)
Goals: Williams 61; Taieb og 87
Referee: Abigail Byrne