Tottenham Hotspur Women remain winless in the WSL after Reading draw
- Credit: PA
Tottenham Hotspur remain winless in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, despite the long-awaited introduction of US star Alex Morgan, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Reading.
Both goals came in the first half in a game of few chances starting with Brooke Chaplen who headed in the opener from an Emma Mitchell cross after 12 minutes to give the Royals the early lead.
Tottenham then equalised shortly after through Ashleigh Neville who eventually headed in from a corner after a series of flick-ons.
The best chance in a rather uneventful second half fell to Kerys Harrop, whose left-footed volley from a corner failed to hit the target, and even the Spurs debut of USA legend Morgan – scorer of 107 goals in 169 international games – couldn’t split the sides.
True to form, it was Reading who proved the most threatening in the early exchanges with a chance on three minutes. Chaplen broke through to flash a ball across the face of goal to the oncoming Angharad James who was unable to convert her effort from a tight angle.
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This early pressure from the visitors paid dividends when a neat spell of possession culminated in the opener from Chaplen on 12 minutes.
A delicious cross from full-back Mitchell found the head of the unmarked forward at the back post, who guided her effort into the bottom left-hand corner.
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However, it wasn’t long before Tottenham were back level after a series of headers from a corner eventually resulted in an equaliser from Neville midway through the first half.
After Siri Worm’s corner was initially won by Harrop, the second ball then found skipper Josie Green before Neville latched onto it at the third attempt to loft over the onrushing Grace Moloney in the Reading net.
The second half then descended into a cagey affair with neither side able to fashion many clear-cut opportunities.
The best chance fell to Spurs’ Harrop whose left-footed volley went narrowly wide from a corner.
Morgan – playing her first competitive game since giving birth in May – entered the fray on 69 minutes for Rianna Dean but also failed to find the winning spark.
Reading had a late opportunity through Amalie Eikeland but her pullback failed to find Danielle Carter as the home side held out for a point.
The result means Tottenham remain winless with two points whilst Reading move onto eight points.
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Spurs coach Juan Amoros on Alex Morgan: “She hasn’t played for a long time, but we are very pleased that she has been able to make her debut.
“She is a fantastic professional and she has done everything we could have asked of her so far. Here we saw glimpses of the quality we know she possesses as she made a couple of very good runs.
“I think it shows our development as a club and where we want to be as we have the best No.9 in women’s football for the past two years at our club.”
On the match, Amoros added: “We know Reading are one of hardest teams to play in the division because they battle for every ball.
“I think defensively we were brilliant but on the ball we probably weren’t as good as we could be. However, we see the result as a positive one.”
Reading manager Kelly Chambers said: “I think over the 90 minutes we had the better of the chances to win the game and I think it was a missed opportunity to take three points from the game.
“However there are some positive from the game and the goal from Brooke Chaplen was a lovely header. It shows how good we can be.”
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Becky Spencer, Shelina Zardoksy, Josie Green (c), Kerys Harrop, Rianna Dean, Ria Percival, Angela Addison, Siri Worm, Alanna Kennedy, Rosella Ayane, Ashleigh Neville.
Substitutes: Lucia Leon for Rosella Ayane 45, Elisha Sulola for Alanna Kennedy 63, Alex Morgan for Rianna Dean 69, Lucy Quinn for Angela Addison 87
Substitutes not used: Sophie Whitehouse, Gemma Davidson, Hannah Godfrey
Goals: Neville 25
Reading (4-3-3): Grace Moloney, Emma Mitchell, Molly Bartrip, Natasha Harding (c), Deanna Cooper, Jess Fishlock, Rachel Rowe, Angharad James, Amalie Eikeland, Danielle Carter, Brooke Chaplen.
Substitutes: Kristine Leine on for Deanna Cooper 17, Lauren Bruton for Brooke Chaplen 71 Lily Woodham for Rachel Rowe 71
Substitutes not used: Erin Nayler, Keira Skeels, Emma Harries, Molly Childhouse, Gae-ul Jeon, Sophie Quirk
Goals: Chaplen 12.