Tottenham crash to heavy defeat against Manchester United
- Credit: PA
Manchester United move into fourth position in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League after they eased past Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 at Leigh Sports Village.
Ella Toone scored twice to take her league goals tally to eight for the season, while Christen Press and Jess Sigsworth also found the net in a one-sided first half.
A brilliant free-kick from Alanna Kennedy gave Spurs a late consolation goal for their efforts, but United secured the crucial victory which moved them up into the Champions League places and three points clear of Arsenal.
It was Toone who opened the scoring inside the opening ten minutes, converting past Spurs goalkeeper Becky Spencer after connecting with a low cross that Kirsty Hanson had drilled in from the left wing.
And soon after Toone was in on the action once again, with her hooked ball into the box met by the head of Press who directed a cushioned effort into the back of the net.
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Sigsworth then made it three later on in the first half with Kirsty Hanson yet again the provider, as she picked up the ball after it ricocheted off Kerys Harrop and rifled under the bar.
Spurs were largely the architects of their own downfall and were sloppy at the back, regularly gifting chances to the hosts throughout both periods of the game.
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Toone then picked up a brace early into the second half; the referee pointing to the spot after Lucy Staniforth was brought down inside the box and she rolled the ball into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards.
Kennedy picked up a consolation for Spurs in added time with an exquisite free-kick from distance but it was academic in the grand scheme of things.
Casey Stoney‘s side now sit on 41 points with two games left to play, but the race for European football is still in fourth-placed Arsenal’s hands as they have two games in hand and a vastly superior goal difference.
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Manchester United manager Casey Stoney said: "I thought we were good. I thought we used the ball well. I thought in the first half, when the game was in the balance, the difference for us today was that were ruthless in the final third and we took our chances.
"My only frustration is that we probably could have took more. We conceded a goal we were disappointed with but I thought we were dominant. I thought it was one of our best performances of the season.
"I think it's been [Christen Press'] best performance for us this season. I thought her all-round performance was really good for us today. I thought her back-to-goal play, her timing to drop in [were good]. When she turned she then fed the forwards well.
"She combined well and obviously she gets a goal so I thought it was the complete number nine performance we've been looking for."
Tottenham Hotspur head coach Rehanne Skinner said: “I think, overall, we weren't as consistent as we would have wanted to have been within the game – in possession, on the ball, taking care of that.
“It made it a little bit difficult to maintain a press when we're not looking after the ball when we do win it.
“When we did get the press right and we won possession, we created some opportunities in the final third that I think we just need to be a bit more relaxed about to make sure that they count when we get those chances.
“Ultimately, we have to make sure that we keep in a position to remain competitive for longer in the game and to respond better.
“This week we didn't respond as well as we did last week when we conceded the first goal; last week we managed to change that around and we just didn't find our feet really after that point today."
Manchester United (4-3-3): Mary Earps; Ona Batlle, Amy Turner, Millie Turner, Kirsty Smith; Katie Zelem, Lucy Staniforth, Jess Sigsworth; Ella Toone, Kirsty Hanson, Christen Press.
Substitutes: Leah Galton for Sigsworth 64, Jane Ross for Staniforth 64, Jackie Groenen for Zelem 64, Carrie Jones for Batlle 84, Maria Thorisdottir for Press 84.
Substitutes not used: Fran Bentley, Martha Harris, Alessia Russo, Tara Bourne.
Goals: Toone 9, 48 pen, Press 19, Sigsworth 31
Bookings: Zelem 18
Tottenham Hotspur (4-3-3): Becky Spencer; Ashleigh Neville, Kerys Harrop, Shelina Zadorsky, Josie Green; So-Hyun Cho, Kit Graham, Alanna Kennedy; Rachel Williams, Rianna Dean, Jessica Naz.
Substitutes: Rosella Ayane for Cho 45, Siri Worm for Harrop 45, Gemma Davison for Dean 70, Esther Morgan for Neville 71, Angela Addison for Naz 89.
Substitutes not used: Aurora Mikalsen, Lucy Quinn, Chloe Peplow.
Goals: Kennedy 90+3
Bookings: Neville 39, Green 50
Referee: Cristiana Hattersley