Arsenal Women 2 Tottenham Women 2 (Arsenal win on pens)
- Credit: PA
Alex Morgan missed the decisive spot-kick as Arsenal edged out Tottenham Hotspur on penalties following a scintillating 2-2 draw at Meadow Park.
The draw earned Spurs a first-ever point against their north-London rivals in all competitions, and leaves the Gunners’ chances of FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup qualification hanging by a thread.
Caitlin Foord looked to have netted a winner for Arsenal in normal time after Ria Percival had cancelled out Vivianne Miedema’s early strike, but Shelina Zadorsky bundled home from a corner two minutes from time to earn a famous result for the visitors – even if they were then denied the win in the shoot-out.
From the first whistle Spurs made life very difficult for their hosts, pressing hard and proving tough to break down.
But their defence was unlocked on 12 minutes as a wonderful scooped pass by Kim Little put Miedema in on goal to slot home for her 15th of the season.
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Jill Roord had already forced Becky Spence into a fine save a couple of minutes earlier, diverting a miss-hit Miedema shot goalwards, but the Spurs keeper was less busy than she might have expected, with Arsenal’s finishing wasteful on the rare occasions that they created chances.
Spurs were almost gifted an equaliser midway through the first half, when Lotte Wubben-Moy conceded possession in her own box, but Rosella Ayane’s shot was pushed away by debutant goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
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And they did get themselves back level on the hour mark, as Siri Worm’s ball caught Arsenal’s backline square, and Percival raced through to slide past Williams.
The Arsenal keeper was beaten again a few minutes later by Angela Addison, whose 25-yard strike was too good for the keeper, but rattled off the post.
Just as Spurs began to sense an upset, Arsenal went back ahead as Leah Williamson’s low cross bundled in by Foord – but Spurs were not to be denied, and a late corner led to a goalmouth scramble and the ball was forced over the line, with Zadorsky getting the final touch.
It almost got even better for Tottenham, with American international Alex Morgan put through on goal in stoppage time, but she couldn’t finish past Williams.
And there was further heartbreak for Morgan, who missed the final penalty in the shootout, firing over the bar to hand Arsenal the extra point.
Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro said: “The first half was very good, one of the best halves of the season, we were in complete control. But when you start tinkering with personnel, it has an effect. All credit to Tottenham they pushed us back and got the rewards.
“We go in to play every game in the best possible manner, and we obviously wanted to win. It was always going to be tough to get through to the next round with the amount of goals that we needed and relying on results in other groups.
“So we did have an eye on making sure we used it as a game where we could bring players back in and starting to get minutes, players coming back from rehab, and also keeping an eye on players that are going on national duty. So I think there were both aspects of that.”
Spurs coach Juan Amoros added: “It was massive for us, especially after all these games we haven’t been able to put both results and performances together.
“Today, we’ve done that throughout the 90 minutes. First half they dominated, but second half we dominated, finally, against them, created lots of chances.
“The first goal is fantastic play, and the second with the set play, they’ve done so well, I’m very, very pleased for them. They put everything together and made us very proud .
“I was thinking (when Morgan went through) this was the moment, minute 90. It was excellent play, 1-vs-1 with the goalie, after all the work she’s done, she’s going to come in win the north London derby for us for the first time.
“Unfortunately the keeper saved, and it couldn’t be – but if I’m honest, we put her on at half time and you can tell, she didn’t get the goal and she’s disappointed with that, but the way she helps us going forward, the way she occupies the defenders, she helps in the build up, the movement, the way she drives, you can tell.
“She helps the team in so many ways. Yes, she wanted to score that goal, but her performance overall was so positive and we’re so happy to have her.”
Arsenal (4-3-3): Williams; Maier (Beattie 67), Williamson, Wubben-Moy, McCabe; Little (Evans 46), Walti, Roord; van de Donk, Miedema (Mead 73), Foord (Mace 80).
Unused subs: Zinsberger, Gut, Pearse, Garrad.
Tottenham (4-4-1-1): Spencer; Neville, Godfrey, Zadorsky, Worm; Leon (A Morgan 46), Percival, Green (Davidson 84), Addison; Kennedy; Ayane (Quinn 84). Unused subs: Harrop, Whitehouse, Martin, Sulola, E Morgan.
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