WSL: Tottenham 1 Brighton 0
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Ashleigh Neville’s second-half goal proved to be the difference as Tottenham beat Brighton at the Hive.
Victoria Williams could only flail at a point-blank clearance after Neville's second-time effort was sent goalbound in what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
Spurs almost found a way through Brighton's defence on 24 minutes after Rachel Furness ran from deep to latch on to a long ball forward, but her shot from just inside the area was straight at Megan Walsh.
Brighton were looking to get crosses into the box to test Spurs' back line, but after Kayleigh Green and Ini Umotong combined well on the right wing after 22 minutes, no Brighton players were able to get on the end of Green's cross.
Just before half time, Lea Le Garrec 's long range effort from 30 yards tested Rebecca Spencer after bobbling up in front of her, but the Spurs keeper held on to the ball to keep game goalless.
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Spurs started the second half brightly and Rianna Dean raced through on 49 minutes but Williams got back well to block Dean's shot over the bar.
On 56 minutes Furness found space on the left and her low cross found Neville at the far post. Her first shot was blocked by Walsh but her second attempt just crossed the line, despite the best efforts of Williams, to open the scoring.
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Spurs almost doubled their lead with 20 minutes left when Furness' curling shot was spilled by Walsh and Dean chased in but the follow up attempt was smothered well by Walsh.
Brighton struggled to create any clear-cut chances in response, substitute Amanda Nilden flashed a cross along the six-yard box with 15 minutes left but no Brighton player could convert the cross.
Le Garrec found Nilden with a deep cross in injury time, but the midfielder's volley was cleared off the line and Spurs held on for the win.
Tottenham manager Karen Hills said: "I thought the girls were outstanding today and held out in tough conditions and a tough five minutes where Brighton really piled on the pressure. I though we were resilient enough to see the game out and get the three points which is massive for us.
"I thought it was all about believing in the team, believing in what we were doing and sticking to the game plan and the girls were excellent with that. I thought it was only going to be a key moment that decided between the two teams, it was very close and even. It was always going to be from a set piece or a little bit of individual skill, no one was going to carve each other open because both teams were very solid.
"It's massive today, to gain those three points on what was a really tough week. We've played Birmingham mid-week and picked up a point that was massive for us. It was always going to be a tough ask against Brighton but I thought the girls were outstanding today."
Tottenham (4-5-1): Spencer, Filbey, Neville, Godfrey, Worm (Leon 65), Green, Peplow, Davison (Wynnie 90), Dean (Quinn 73), Graham, Furness. Unused subs: Morgan, Schillaci, Haines, Addison.
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