Spurs Ladies down Eagles to return to winning ways

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Rianna Dean (centre) celebrates with team-mate Ashleigh Nevilla (19) after

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Rianna Dean (centre) celebrates with team-mate Ashleigh Nevilla (19) after scoring against Crystal Palace Ladies (pic: Wu's Photography). - Credit: Archant

FA Women’s Championship: Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 1 Crystal Palace Ladies 0

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Rianna Dean (left) battles with Crystal Palace Ladies Hannah Mackenzie, who

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Rianna Dean (left) battles with Crystal Palace Ladies Hannah Mackenzie, who used to play for Spurs (pic: Wu's Photography). - Credit: Archant

Rianna Dean fired Tottenham Hotspur Ladies to a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace Ladies on Sunday, as they returned to winning ways in the FA Women’s Championship.

A first-half strike from Dean was enough to secure all three points for Spurs, who recovered from two consecutive defeats against Durham Women and London Bees.

The win in the London derby means the Lilywhites finish the year in fourth place, but they are now just one point behind leaders Manchester United Women.

Spurs also have a game in hand over Charlton Athletic Women and Durham, who sit above them in second and third place respectively – leaving the title race wide open heading into 2019.

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Karen Hills stuck with the team who played against Durham in their last league game as Chloe Morgan returned to the starting line-up to register another clean sheet, after she missed the Continental Cup game against London Bees through suspension.

Spurs made a bright start and should have been in front within two minutes after Angela Addison, who was celebrating her birthday, squared the ball to Dean after she carried it past the Palace goalkeeper, but a last ditch tackle from Anneka Nuttall prevented the in-form striker from pulling the trigger.

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The Lilywhites had the ball in the back of the net in the 15th minute through Dean, but only for it to be ruled offside, following some excellent work in the build up from left-back Ashleigh Neville, who had her attempt blocked before poking the rebound through to the Dean.

Dean came up with the goods once more for Spurs, as she has done on countless occasions this season, after she broke the deadlock in the 26th minute.

The goal to give Spurs a deserved lead, and her 11th of the season, was set up nicely by Neville, who flicked the ball forward with the outside of her boot, before Dean slotted it home confidently on her left foot.

The Lilywhites should have doubled their lead through Addison moments before half-time, but Shanelle Saldado, who was in goal for Palace, made a fine save to deny a goal for the birthday girl.

After the break, Sarah Wiltshire curled in a delightful ball from the right wing to Dean, but she couldn’t manage to get her attempt on target, with the ball going over the crossbar.

The narrow lead left the Lilywhites in a nervous positon going into the final stages of the match, and Morgan was forced to make a brave block to deny Chloe Burr late on, as Spurs held out for the much-needed win.

Hills said: “We told the girls we were looking for a reaction and ultimately I thought we were very good. We could have scored a few more goals and we had a lot of opportunities, but credit to Palace.

“They stuck with it and made a game of it, and it went all the way to the wire, but we got the win and that’s the main thing.”

Hills went on to applaud Dean and Neville for their vital contribution to the win, adding: “Rianna has done well for the team.

“I thought the pass from Ashleigh was outstanding, to get her into a position where she had the chance to go on and score and she took the goal with her left foot which is always nice to see.

“We needed that win to put us into a good positon and give us momentum. There’s a nice feeling going into Wednesday’s game (at home to Chelsea in the Continental Cup) and we’re confident in our own ability. Who knows what can happen.”

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies: Chloe Morgan; Megan Wynne, Renée Hector, Jenna Schillaci (c), Ashleigh Neville; Josie Green, Sophie McLean, Angela Addison (Bianca Baptiste 84), Jessica Vaz, Sarah Wiltshire (Anna Filbey 60), Rianna Dean.

Unused substitutes: Emma Gibbon, Lucia Leon, Coral-Jade Haines, Ryah Vyse.

Crystal Palace Ladies: Shanell Salgado; Pam McRoberts (Hope Nash 71), Anneka Nuttall, Megan Chandler, Lily Stevens; Nikita Whinnett, Leesa Haydock (Hannah MacKenzie 50), Ciara Sherwood (c), Andrea Georgiou, Chloe Burr, Ashlee Hincks.

Unused substitutes: Amy Green, Ria Collins.

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