Tottenham 1-0 Leicester City: Vinberg strike the difference as Lilywhites record first league win since January

With a historic Adobe Women’s FA Cup semifinal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the horizon, Spurs hosted Leicester City at Brisbane Road in a mid-table WSL clash, with the Foxes looking to chase down Robert Vilahamn’s side as three points separated the sides ahead of kick-off.

But Martha Thomas would be out for the hosts: having picked up a hamstring injury in training, the Scottish forward will be out for three weeks, whilst Lena Petermann and Yuka Momiki returned to the starting eleven for the visitors.

TOT: Spencer; Nildén, Bühler, James-Turner, Neville; Summanen, Spence, Clinton; Bizet, Naz, Vinberg

LEI: Kop; Cayman, Thibaud, Howard, Bott; Takarada; Rantala, Momiki, Tierney, Whelan; Petermann

A blistering start from Spurs saw Drew Spence carry the ball forward with purpose following after a quickly taken throw in. Jess Naz’s run in behind the Foxes defence allowed for an easy ball across the goal, slotted home by Matilda Vinberg to hand the home side the lead after just two minutes.

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Spurs kept the pressure on as they dominated the opening stages, with a Grace Clinton shot going just wide and an audiatious lob from the lively Spence almost catching Leicester keeper Lize Kop off-guard – but she was just able to tip it onto her bar and collect the ball after a moment of panic.

Leicester City did grow into the half though as they tried to get in behind the high Spurs backline, with the in-form Jutta Rantala firing in a cross from a very open right-hand side, though it was met with a weak shot from the returning Lena Petermann.

It wasn’t until the 37th minute that Leicester had their best chance of the game so far, as Yuka Momiki managed to find herself with plenty of space to exploit. She danced into the box, only to see her finessed shot put behind well by Becky Spencer.

The Foxes’ persistence in pressing a cultured Spurs backline very nearly paid off twice late in the half, as the Lilywhites failed to clear their lines from a promising Leicester attack – but again Petermann saw her shot blocked, and Julie Thibaud was no luckier as her effort was cleated off the line just before the break.

In a similar vein to the first half, Tottenham commenced the second period as the stronger of the two sides. Naz whipped in a promising delivery with the whole right flank in front of her, but Grace Clinton failed to meet the cross.

Robert Vilahamn was clearly aware of the need to maintain high energy levels, with Celin Bizet and Vinberg both withdrawn early in the first half – with Rosella Ayane coming on to cause more problems on her 100th Spurs appearance.

On the hour mark, substitute Beth England had the clearest chance of the second half so far. Collecting the ball on the halfway line as the referee played advantage from a rough tackle on Kit Graham, the forward decided to go it alone – but her shot was easily saved by Kop.

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The visitors were only able to force one chance of note in the final twenty minutes, with that opportunity coming from a Sam Tierney ball through to substitute Deanne Rose, but her effort was hit poorly and went well wide.

As Spurs looked to see out a comfortable win, England once again saw a shot saved, which subsequently deflected out to Graham. Her shot too was blocked though, with the two substitutes surely left to question their luck on St Patrick’s Day.

England finally found the back of the net in the dying moments, but her misfortune would continue as this effort was disallowed for offside.

Matilda Vinberg’s early goal proved to be the difference maker for Tottenham, who will be very glad to get the mental edge over their Adobe Women’s FA Cup semifinal opponents. Robert Vilahamn’s Lilywhites remain in the top half of the Barclays Women’s Super League season ahead of next weekend’s trip to Bristol City.