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Neville header gives Spurs 1-0 win over Leicester to finish fifth in WSL

By Football Reporter


Ash Neville’s second-half header gave Spurs a 1-0 win over Leicester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to round off their great season.

Rehanne Skinner, an ex-Leicester player and manager, led Spurs to victory to secure fifth place in the league, their highest top-flight finish.

The Foxes had their WSL place for next season confirmed in midweek, despite being winless in the league since February.

It took ten minutes for the first chance. Neville was played through, but her shot was well parried by Demi Lambourne. Five minutes later, Foxes forward Missy Goodwin volleyed over from close range.

The referee waved away two Spurs claims in five minutes, first when Lambourne looked to have handled outside the area, and then a penalty shout when Rosella Ayane was brought down in the 37th minute.

Kerys Harrop clipped the outside of the post with an audacious shot from range three minutes before half-time.

The breakthrough came in the 49th minute, Neville rising highest at the back post to head Jess Naz’s cross down so it bounced past Lambourne.

Spurs should have doubled their advantage in the 66th minute, but Molly Bartrip’s fizzling shot flew just over the crossbar, as the defender finished off a season playing every minute of WSL matches.

Foxes sub Ava Baker found acres of room in the box 15 minutes from time, but was only able to drag her shot wide when one-on-one with Becky Spencer.

The hosts had another penalty shout waved away in the 84th minute when Angela Addison was brought down in the box.

However, Spurs saw out the match to secure their first league win since February 13th.

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Tottenham Hotspur (4-3-3): Becky Spencer, Molly Bartrip, Asmita Ale, Shelina Zadorsky, Kerys Harrop, Ash Neville, Eveliina Summanen, Maeva Clemaron, Rosella Ayane, Rachel Williams, Jess Naz

Substitutes: Josie Green for Clemaron 63, Angela Addison for Ayane 75

Substitutes not used: Tinja-Riikka Korpela, Isabella Lane, Jiali Tang, So-Hyun Cho

Goals: Neville 49

Bookings: Williams 80

Red Cards: None

Leicester City (5-4-1): Demi Lambourne, Sam Tierney, Abbie McManus, Molly Pike, Missy Goodwin, Esmee de Graaf, Sophie Howard, Freya Gregory, Ashleigh Plumptre, Jemma Purfield, Shannon O’Brien

Substitutes: Catherine Bott for Purfield 63, Natasha Flint for Goodwin 63, Ava Baker for Gregory 70, Sophie Barker for Pike 85, Paige Bailey-Gayle for O’Brien 85

Substitutes not used: Sophie Harris, Georgia Brougham, Charlie Devlin, Elysa Boddy

Goals: None

Bookings: Goodwin 58, Tierney 86

Red Cards: None

Referee: Kirsty Dowle

Attendance: Not confirmed – told around 6000 tickets sold

WHAT THEY SAID


Rehanne Skinner, Spurs manager: “I’m so proud of the players and everything we’ve achieved over the course of this season. It’s been tough work, we’ve had a lot of things to learn. The team have gelled together so well over the course of the year. To finish with three points in the Hotspur Stadium is a great way to finish a really good season for us. “[Her players] They’ve bought into the vision, they’ve bought into what we’re trying to do here as a football team. It’s got us some fantastic results, it’s upset a few people along the way, which has been great. We got ourselves in and around the top three for large chunks of the season. It’s all down to the work they put in and the investment they put into the team on a daily basis. “[Finishing fifth] I’m delighted. We have high aspirations and we want to keep progressing the team. It was about finishing higher than what we did. It’s a fantastic achievement for everyone, on the pitch, off the pitch, the whole club. I’m grateful for the support from the board and the chairman. It’s been a massive team effort.” Lydia Bedford, Leicester manager: “I thought it was an exciting 90 minutes. The first half was really competitive from both teams, trying to work out how each other were playing and how everyone was set up. I think we defended resiliently in that first half. Disappointed to come out and concede second phase of a corner early on in second half. The girls pushed to get back in the game, and we created good opportunities in the final 15 minutes, we just didn’t capitalise. “[Use of substitutes] We knew Spurs played four games in two weeks. We had a level of freshness that was different to them. We had forwards on the bench to come on and influence the game, so we gave them a chance to do that. We timed that quite well today, and I think it made an impact. “We were really pleased with Ava [Baker]. She doesn’t spend a lot of time with us in the first team because of her age, she’s still at school. We used her in the FA Cup against Spurs earlier in the year, and again last weekend. She’s got a bright future and hopefully it’s a talent we can really develop at Leicester.”