Leah Rawle: Spurs Ladies showed their resilience in the cup victory over Gillingham
Defender Leah Rawle says Spurs Ladies showed their resilience and character on Sunday as they halted Gillingham’s comeback and continued their defence of the FA Women’s Premier League Cup.
A Lucia Leon header, an own goal by Jay Blackie and a prodded finish by Maya Vio gave Tottenham a 3-0 half-time lead - but the Gills fought back to make it 3-2 with three minutes remaining and set up a nervy ending.
Spurs refused to buckle though and they went up the other end, with Wendy Martin putting the result beyond doubt as Karen Hills’ side triumphed 4-2 and secured their 11th victory from 12 games in all competitions this season.
“I think if anything it’s something that we’ve just learnt over the last season,” said Rawle. “We played a lot of games into extra time last year [when we won two trophies] and we knew that we had to last the game, be consistent and not change just because of the way the game is going. We knew we had to be resilient.
“I felt we dealt with the frustrations quite well and didn’t change the way that we played. Ri (Riana Soobadoo), who won the player of the match award – controlled a lot of the game in midfield, she kept the ball moving and in the end we got another goal and were all able to breathe again!
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“That was probably one of our weaker points last season - people didn’t expect us to do that, and I think we tended to question ourselves at times.
“This season we’ve built on our character and it’s a testament to ourselves. We’ve worked on it a lot in training and we just believe in ourselves a lot better now to go on and win games. This is our cup, we’re the holders and we just want to carry on our run of scoring goals.”
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Rawle continued: “I think it was a really good performance. We got off to a good start but Gillingham are a strong team and they came out flying in the second half.
“We had to show character, which I think we did. Obviously they pulled two goals back but we went on to get another one and then closed the game out quite well.
“We’ve got Katie [O’Leary] still to come back, and that’s the great thing about our squad – everyone brings something different.
“Nellz (Ronnell Humes) scored last week but she couldn’t play this time. I think we all contribute in different ways to the team in all different areas of the pitch so we’re quite lucky in that sense.
“The way the season’s started, it’s been all about how we’ve attacked – and it’s probably not been mentioned enough how well we’ve defended as a team, not conceding many goals.
“This game was really testing with the conditions, the pitch. Even the little things like taking a touch out from the back could have tested us with the slippery surface.
“I think everybody who started and who came on did really well in a game like that. Megen [Lynch], who came on at half-time into a tough game when Gillingham came out a lot stronger in the second half, did really well. I think we’ve shown that it doesn’t matter who plays together at the minute, we all seem to play quite well.”