Graham goal gives Tottenham win at Birmingham in WSL finale

Kit Graham scored Tottenham's winner against Birmingham City

Kit Graham scored Tottenham's winner against Birmingham City - Credit: PA

At the end of a season filled with setbacks and adversity, Birmingham City secured their Barclays FA Women’s Super League status despite a 1-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

The Blues, who couldn’t name a single outfielder on the bench, held out until deep into the second half, when a moment of quality from Kit Graham gave Spurs victory.

After a couple of corners, and a penalty appeal when Harriet Scott went over in the area, Ruby Mace had the first meaningful effort from distance, which was saved by Becky Spencer.

Tottenham then took a short corner to Jessica Naz, who had her first shot blocked and chipped the second safely into Hannah Hampton’s hands.

Birmingham went close from an inswinging free kick by Rebecca Holloway, which flew just wide off Mace’s head as the whistle went for a foul on Spencer.

Lucy Quinn latched onto a long ball in behind the Blues defence and went down under pressure as she cut inside to shoot but no penalty was given.

Quinn and Ashleigh Neville linked up well down the right for Spurs, with the full-back firing in a cross that just evaded the onrushing Rachel Williams at the back post.

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Spurs continued to control possession in the second half but the Blues broke well through Claudia Walker, who stole the ball before firing narrowly wide of the far post.

In response, Williams headed wide from Naz’s free kick and Angela Addison failed to react when the ball arrived at her feet six yards out.

On 71 minutes, Graham finally broke Blues’ resolve with an impressive finish. 

Receiving the ball on the half-turn near the edge of the box, she dropped her shoulder to work some space and dispatched a low shot decisively into the bottom corner.

Shots from Emily Murphy and Walker were blocked as Blues unsuccessfully pushed for an equaliser, but Bristol City’s loss kept them safe.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Rehanne Skinner said: “In terms of today’s performance, I think we made life a little bit difficult for ourselves to be honest, at the start of the game in particular.

“We probably didn’t start as lively as we’d hoped, just with our quality on the ball and how we pressed. We took a little bit of time to get into the game, but credit to Birmingham, they defended really well, which made things more challenging for us.

“The goal was really positive. We’ve moved the ball through the thirds and showed that we’re able to play and find opportunities to go through teams, rather than going around them. 

“We’ve got a bit bogged down with going around the outside all the time in the first half, rather than trying to be a bit more penetrating. 

“That was obviously taken onboard and that’s created the goal for us, so I’m really pleased with the outcome. It was a fantastic finish from Kit.”

Tottenham: Spencer, McManus, Zadorsky, Harrop, Neville (Davison 74), Cho, Graham, Peplow (Addison 56), Quinn (Ayane 57), Naz, Williams. Unused subs: Green, Worm, Martin, Morgan.

Referee: Lisa Benn.

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