Wiltshire winner sends Spurs back up to second
- Credit: Archant
FA Women’s Championship: Sheffield United Women 1 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 2
Sarah Wiltshire fired Spurs Ladies to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sheffield United to start the year off on a high, and keep the pressure on at the top of the FA Women’s Championship.
An early goal from Rianna Dean gave Tottenham Hotspur the edge, but only for a matter of 60 seconds as the Blades equalised through an unfortunate own goal from away captain Jenna Schillaci.
Wiltshire came up with the winning goal in the second half, though, as Spurs moved up to second and capitalised on points dropped by fellow title contenders Charlton Athletic Women and Durham Women, who drew 2-2 in their game against each other.
Karen Hills made five changes to the team who played last against Chelsea in the FA Women’s Continental Cup as Chloe Morgan, Lucia Leon, Angela Addison, Dean and Wiltshire started in the first game of 2019.
Dean got Spurs off to a perfect start with her opener coming after five minutes when a thumping effort from Wiltshire was stopped by the crossbar, but Dean, perfectly placed in the 18-yard box, converted the rebound to score her 12th goal of the season.
The home side responded immediately at the other end of the pitch, as the Lilywhites failed to deal with a cross into the box from Veatriki Sarri and Schillaci turned the ball into the back of her own net.
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Spurs went ahead once again within six minutes of the second half, however, after a moment of quality from Wiltshire.
The goal came after Coral-Jade Haines’ cross found the forward, who improvised brilliantly by heading the ball up and smashing it on the volley into the back of the net for 2-1.
Morgan came to the rescue in a nervy few moments following Wiltshire’s goal, as she pulled off two important saves to prevent Sarri from scoring equalising and thankfully Spurs held out for maximum points at Olympic Legacy Park.
Tottenham head coach Juan Amoros said: “The fact that we were able to get the three points matters even more as it was a match where every single player had to compete at the top of their game and I think everyone did just that.
“The second goal was key for us, and from Chloe to Rianna everyone was outstanding in defending our lead.
“Now it’s a question of us just focusing and playing our games and trying to win them. We knew the three points would be massive and we’re happy we got them.”
Match-winner Wiltshire added: “I just always want to help the team out in any way I can with scoring or assisting so I’m really happy with my goal.
“I thought we were brilliant, defensively we just kept going even when Sheffield were pressing on, and I thought we did really well to get the three points.”
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies: Chloe Morgan; Lucia Leon (Megan Wynne 72), Renee Hector, Jenna Schillaci, Ashleigh Neville; Sophie McLean, Jessica Naz, Coral-Jade Haines; Sarah Wiltshire, Rianna Dean, Angela Addison (Bianca Baptiste 64).
Unused substitutes: Emma Gibbon, Anna Filbey, Ryan Vyse.
Sheffield United Women: Alex Brooks; Jade Pennock, Sam Tierney, Danielle Cox, Ellie Gilliatt; Sophie Barker, Maddy Cusack, Bex Rayner; Chloe Dixon (Ebony Salmon 52), Sophie Jones, Veatriki Sarri.
Unused substitutes: Lauren Joyce, Nicole Kemp, Alethea Paul, Hollie Barker, Jodie Hartley, Tania Marsden.