Beckie and Weir sink Tottenham to earn Manchester City's 12th WSL win in row

Gareth Taylor praised the perseverance of his Manchester City players after a 3-0 defeat of Tottenham extended their winning run to 12 games and ensured they stay within two points of Chelsea at the summit of the Women’s Super League.

“A 12-game winning streak in a 22-game season is phenomenal,” said Taylor. “It’s kept us in touching distance and knowing exactly what we need to do in these final three games.”

A new manager bounce helped Tottenham pick up their first four (and only) wins of the season in succession following the appointment of Rehanne Skinner in November. However, since then the team have just two points from seven games.

Most bruising, perhaps, is that many of those games, for a team that should be targeting the “best of the rest” mantle, were very winnable for a squad of Spurs’ calibre.

Their opposition has ramped up a level since to pile pressure on Skinner, who left her job as an assistant coach of England women to step into a head coach role in the WSL for the first time and suffered a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal last week. There may have been some hope for Spurs prior to kick off, as City fielded a very makeshift backline.

The club captain Steph Houghton and the right-back Demi Stokes both remain out with injuries while England’s right-back Lucy Bronze had picked up a groin injury and the late withdrawal of England’s right back Alex Greenwood with a similar problem meant Aoife Mannion was swapped from the bench to the starting XI at the last minute to play alongside Georgia Stanway, normally City’s No 10, playing a in less conventional right-back role.

Spurs tried to target Stanway and the centre-back turned temporary left-back Esme Morgan, but even City’s reserves were a level above.

Janine Beckie adds Man City’s second goal at Tottenham



Janine Beckie adds Man City’s second goal at Tottenham. Photograph: Getty Images

That defensive solidity was welcomed by Taylor. “I wouldn’t say there’s a second choice or third choice [back line] we’ve had players that have played more due to form and availability but I really believe in this players, I believe in the squad.”

It took just four minutes for City to take the lead, as an inviting corner from the winger Chloe Kelly was diverted by Spurs’ goalkeeper Becky Spencer into her own net to turn the task from a mound into a mountain.

The home team were not without fight against the team looking to push Chelsea all the way at the top end of the table. Skinner urged her players to “stay high in the press and make them find a way out”. The problem, though, is that in the likes of the US World Cup winner Sam Mewis, the midfielder Caroline Weir and Keira Walsh, City have the personal that made finding a way out of that press very easy.

Leicester City clinched the Championship title and promotion to the Women’s Super League with two games still to play following a 2-0 defeat of London City Lionesses.

Goals from right back Sam Tierney and Natasha Flint, her 16th of the season, earned the Foxes a 12th straight win after Charlie Devlin had a penalty saved 33 minutes in.

Brighton delivered a crushing blow to Manchester United‘s Champions League ambitions as an Inessa Kaagman penalty consigned them to a 1-0 defeat, a third consecutive away loss. Casey Stoney’s woes were compounded by the loss of 19-year-old star Lauren James to injury in the first half.

Arsenal put four past Bristol City to move ahead of United on goal difference, with the Gunners’ having played a game less. Two goals from Vivienne Miedema sandwiched one each from fellow forwards Danielle van de Donk and Beth Mead and moved the Dutch striker up to 17 league goals for the season.

Australian forward Sam Kerr scored a hat-trick in Chelsea‘s 6-0 demolition of Birmingham to take her level on 17 goals with Miedema. Chelsea stay two points clear of Man City at the top of the league, who they play next. Elsewhere, Everton beat Aston Villa 3-1. Suzanne Wrack


Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Europe

One positive for Tottenham was the performance of the 18-year-old Welsh full-back Esther Morgan, who forced Taylor to swap Kelly from left to right to shift her away from the attentions of the young defender.

“She’s a really positive and hardworking kid that’s learning her trade,” said Skinner. “The fact that she plays without fear really helps her, it helps with her decision making.”

Five minutes before the end of the half and City had doubled their lead. A wonderfully-weighted through ball from Mewis found Janine Beckie and the Canadian, who may have been marginally offside, slotted past Spencer. A brief spell of Spurs pressure in the second half, orchestrated by the Australian Alanna Kennedy, would be crushed by City’s third as Kelly, at the back post, poked Beckie’s floated cross towards an onrushing Weir to prod in.

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“We’re too tentative in the press, we need to be more aggressive and on the front foot,” said Skinner. “There was a bit of a disconnect between some of the players in terms of what that looked like.”

Next up for Spurs are Manchester United and Chelsea before a kinder season finale with Birmingham. The north London side may sit comfortably in eighth, four points above Birmingham, having played a game more, but only seven points separate them and bottom-placed Aston Villa, who have played two games less than Spurs and Bristol City in 11th.

source: theguardian.com