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100% Spurs go marching on
 Women's Football News 15 Sep 2014
100% Spurs go marching on - 15 Sep 2014 - Women's Football NewsTottenham Hotspur 1 Tranmere Rovers 0
Tottenham Hotspur maintained their excellent start to the season by winning their FA WPL League Cup Preliminary Round tie with Tranmere Rovers. 
An early strike by Katie O'Leary proved to be the winner and despite dominating a brave and spirited Rovers throughout, Spurs simply could not find the second goal and Tranmere were in the tie right to the final whistle, despite rarely threatening the home goal.
Tranmere, from Northern Division One, were soon under pressure from a fluent Spurs attacking unit who had put five goals past Charlton Athletic the week before. The right side of their attack was especially dangerous, leading to early corners delivered by skipper Jenna Schillaci. O'Leary volleyed one corner towards goal, but keeper Bethany Greathead pushed the ball away at full stretch.
Sophie McClean was very involved in supporting the build ups down the right and from a ball played across the Tranmere area, O'Leary arrived unnoticed on the far post to tuck the ball past Greathead on 12 minutes.
Avilla Bergin was a constant threat to the Rovers defence, sending over several dangerous crosses which just eluded the Spurs attack or driving into the box to earn corners or try a shot on goal. Wendy Martin was close with a couple of headers as the pressure was maintained but Rovers defended strongly, Keira Onanga and Lindsey Smith doing an excellent job in central defence and Greathead showing good judgement, speed off her line and sound handling under pressure.
Rovers had a good chance to equalise when Toni-Anne Wayne caught a ball from defender Fran Gamble which was given as a back pass. A free kick seven yards from goal, in a central position, was the result, but the wall blocked Smith's initial effort and Faye Jones lifted the rebound over on the half hour.
Apart from this scare, Spurs continued to press forward, Martin and Shannon Maloney being very effective at directing the play in midfield and Schillaci, Bergin and Andra Maroci using the full width of the pitch to launch attacks. However the break arrived with Tranmere still just one goal down and very much in contention.
O'Leary nearly added a second on 48 minutes but her shot on the turn from six yards was blocked at point blank range by keeper Greathead. Bergin twice worked her way to the line but one cross was volleyed just wide at the near post and from the other, Lucia Leon set up Martin who shot over. Bergin was denied when shooting from 20 yards by a spectacular catch at full stretch.
Tranmere's back four and midfield chased and harried every forward move as Spurs continued to seek the killer goal. Schillaci became increasingly the focal point of Tottenham attacks, finding space and time to drive at the defence from the left but almost every cross was met by a Rovers head or foot.
At the other end, Wayne was largely untroubled, often sweeping up forward passes on the edge of her area. Only once was the Spurs keeper forced into claiming a bouncing ball under pressure on the edge of her area as Tranmere were unable to sustain any serious control in their attacking third.
Spurs still created some good situations as the game entered its final ten minutes. Martin set up McClean for a shot just wide and the same player then shot over from a Schillaci cross. The home team remained in control right to the final whistle but had been frustrated by a resolute and well organised visiting team.
Tottenham Hotspur will now enter the draw for the First Round of the League Cup and will seek to maintain their 100 per cent record in the Premier League Southern Division. Despite the narrow margin of victory, they looked a fluent attacking team with plenty of flair. Tranmere Rovers were hard working opponents who will seek to build on their unbeaten start in the Premier League Northern Division One. 
Tottenham Hotspur: Toni Anne Wayne, Leah Rawle, Fran Gamble, Sophie McClean, Shannon Maloney, Wendy Martin, Katie O'Leary, Lucia Leon, Avilla Bergin, Andra Maroci. Subs: Natalie Grafton, Maya Vio, Leanne Mabey.

Tranmere Rovers: Bethany Greathead, Hannah Ouldred, Amie Neale, Keira Onanga, Lindsey Smith, Beth Woolley, Becky Smith, Steph Holmes, Lynn Carter, Katie Horne, Faye Jones. Subs: Lauren Davies, Elisha Price, Phoebe Bryan.

(Report by Patrick Higgins)

Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:

(top) Jenna Schillaci holds off Katie Horne
(middle) Lucia Leon battles for the ball with Becky Smith
(bottom) Shannon Maloney is tackled by Lynn Carter

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