Baptiste feels Spurs Ladies should prioritise their league campaign this season
Spurs Ladies won a cup double last season and forward Bianca Baptiste would love to go one better and secure a treble this term – but she believes the focus should be on the league and a top-three finish.
Karen Hills’ side finished the 2015/16 campaign as Ryman and FA Women’s Premier League Cup winners but ended up sixth in the FA Women’s Premier League – the third tier of the national pyramid.
Their pre-season programme began in encouraging fashion on Sunday with a 5-1 victory over Middlesbrough, and Baptiste – who scored one goal and set up another two – hopes Tottenham will be competing towards the top of their division in the forthcoming season.
“Onwards and upwards – we’ve won two cups. I think the main focus this year is going to be the league,” said Baptiste. “We’re going to try to do better, finish in the top three and also win as many cups as we can. We won two last season, let’s now try and get three this season and keep going.”
New signing Cheryl Williams featured in Sunday’s victory over Middlesbrough and Baptiste was impressed with the striker, who has played for Reading and London Bees in Women’s Super League Division Two.
“I think she’s settled in perfectly,” said Baptiste. “She’s a quality player with her ability, and she has a great understanding of the game. I think she’s an excellent player.
“It’s the first friendly we’ve played and hopefully things get better between the girls, and the way we play with each other, throughout the season.
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“New players have come in and it’s been amazing having them come play and with us, to get the momentum and how we play. They’re bouncing along with us so they’re doing well to keep up with that as well.
“It was a tough game and the girls did well – we all worked hard in both halves. I think we used it as a fitness session and a training session to see how everyone else plays and how we all work together as a team.”
Alex Keown opened the scoring with a half volley, finishing off Baptiste’s corner – and Baptiste then found the net herself, sending a spectacular 30-yard effort into the top corner.
She had a hand in the third too, breaking down the right flank and finding Kelley Blanchflower, who tapped home to give Spurs a commanding lead at the break.
There were a flurry of half-time changes and Middlesbrough took advantage as Bianca Owens reduced the deficit, hitting a composed finish into the far corner.
But Andra Marcoci met with Eartha Pond’s cross with a fine lob to restore Spurs’ three-goal cushion, and Ariana Fleischman then guided Kelly Smith’s corner into the net to make it 5-1.