West Ham 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur: Grace Clinton steals the show as Spurs narrowly squeeze past Irons

Bolstered by an impressive January transfer window that saw has seen the likes of Katrina Gorry, Kristie Mewis and Shelina Zadorsky make the move to Dagenham, Rehanne Skinner’s West Ham United would be looking for retribution heading into the new year, as the Irons currently find themselves amidst the relegation battle.

As for the visitors, there was plenty to be excited about for Robert Vilahamn’s side heading into the evening’s fixture. Coming off the back of an emphatic victory in the North London Derby, Spurs would be looking to further climb the rungs of the league table – and would be pleased not to face Zadorsky, who would be sidelined as a result of her loan terms.

WHU: Arnold; Cooke, Cissoko, Smith, Snerle, Gorry, Shimizu, Ueki, Hayashi, Tysiak, Asseyi.

TOT: Votíková; Neville, James, Turner, Bartrip, Ahtinen, Summanen, Thomas, Bizet, Clinton, England.

All was underway down on the grass, as the Chigwell Construction Stadium played host to a London derby under the lights. Spurs entered the clash dynamically, controlling the temp from the outset.

It wouldn’t be long before Robert Vilahamn’s side found their breakthrough, with magic footwork from Grace Clinton seeing her expertly weave through West Ham’s last line before slotting her strike into the bottom left corner.

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The Irons began to find their groove in glimpses, working the ball along their last line in hopes of breaking down Tottenham’s animated press.

Clinton continued to prove threatening for Spurs in attack, carrying the ball through the field’s spine with clear intention, expertly leaving the West Ham midfield in the dust before sending a long-range strike from distance. Her best efforts fell short though, as Mackenzie Arnold comfortably collected the scraps.

Despite losing the possession battle, it wouldn’t be too long before the home side brought things back level in East London. Riko Ueki exploited the space down the right side, before sending a searching ball inside of the area. Spurs’ last line was unable to clear the cross from danger, before Risa Shimizu’s sliding effort found the equaliser for the home side.

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The Irons looked to have found themselves a spark after the equaliser, as Katrina Gorry saw space on the edge of the area to get a shot off. Her strike from range failed to test an awaiting Barbara Votíkova though, as the match remained level.

An animated Clinton marched on with an exciting flair, beating her opponents to send a searching cross inside of the area – though Bethany England’s header floated just wide of the goalposts.

With the fixture in the palm of her hands, Clinton once again would play catalyst to a dynamic Spurs attacking motion. A pinpoint through ball in to the path of an advancing Celin Bizet would see the Norwegian striker hit home Tottenham’s second for the evening.

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It would be the visitors that had their noses in front at the half-time break, with Bizet’s late finish proving the difference at the interval. But it wouldn’t be long before the fans in East London played witness to another episode of the ‘Grace Clinton Show’, with the 20 year-old English midfielder picking up the crumbs of a scuffled deflection before sending a wonder strike into the bottom left corner from distance. Despite offside pleas being made by Arnold, the goal would stand as Clinton found herself a brace inside the half’s opening minutes.

Despite the gulf in the scoreline growing wider, the home side refused to roll over without an arm wrestle. Once again finding herself with space in the wide areas, Ueki charged down the left with conviction before sending a searching cross inside of the 18-yard box. A blunder at the back saw Eveliina Summamen’s sliding entry poorly mistimed, sending the ball in to the path of her own net before Viv Asseyi cleaned up the scraps and gave the Irons their second of the contest.

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Excitement could be felt in the stands of Chigwell Construction Stadium, as USWNT international Kristie Mewis made her debut appearance for West Ham United with a substitution in the 60th minute. Immediately making her impact from the bench, Mewis rattled the Spurs last line with a shot from range that only narrowly saw a deflection away from the area of danger.

Mewis truly introduced herself to the Barclays Women’s Super League just moments later, using a free-kick from an opportunistic position to expertly assist Amber Tysiak – the Belgian defender heading home an equaliser for the Hammers.

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Though rapture was short-lived for home fans, as Robert Vilahamn’s Spurs came marching in. Ashleigh Neville saw the ball inside of the area, as the Irons defence struggled to clear away the ball from the danger area. Jessica Naz came off best, cleaning up the scraps and slotting home Tottenham’s fourth of the occasion, as Spurs once again pulled themselves ahead in Dagenham.

The cinematic fixture continued to roll the tape, as an advancing Gorry threatened to draw things level once again. Despite her best efforts from range, her strike would be denied by the woodwork and out behind for a goal kick.

In the end, Naz’s strike would prove the difference in East London, as Robert Vilahamn’s Spurs narrowly claimed a 3-4 victory over West Ham United at Chigwell Construction Stadium.