WSL: Aston Villa take down Tottenham in tense clash

Kit Graham challenges Simone Magill
Kit Graham of Tottenham Hotspur challenges Simone Magill of Aston Villa during a WSL match at Brisbane Road on February 18, 2024. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

A stunning winner from Jordan Nobbs was enough to give Aston Villa all three points against a below-par Tottenham Hotspur side on Sunday afternoon.

First half: A tentative start leads to goals

A tentative start saw both sides squander early chances in the opening 10 minutes. Spurs keeper Barbora Votíková smothered an attempt by Alisha Lehmann that came from a Nobbs through ball, while Martha Thomas headed wide from a Charli Grant cross.

Adriana Leon might have given Villa the lead with 20 minutes on the clock, but she shot just wide.

The Canadian international didn’t have to wait long for her goal — just three minutes, in fact — as her effort from the edge of the box squeezed in past Votíková to cap off a quick counterattack after Spurs had squandered possession in midfield.

Such was the pace of Leon’s shot — or lack of it. The travelling Villa fans hadn’t realised it went in until they saw the players celebrating.

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Tottenham struggled to get going with Kit Graham’s speculative effort from 30 yards with just over 25 minutes played was as much as they could offer.

Leon nearly got her second of the afternoon. She cut in from the right-hand side, dancing past defenders before letting fly with a shot blocked by Graham.

The hosts got a barely deserved equaliser six minutes from halftime. It came through Amy James-Turner, who headed home Evalina Summanen’s free kick.

Another chance came and went for Leon in first-half stoppage time as she was denied by a smart save from Votíková to parry the ball away with Molly Bartrip finishing the defensive job as she cleared the loose ball.

Second half: A spectacular goal seals the win

Spurs started the second half much brighter. And when Anna Patten mistimed her header with six minutes played, it gave Beth England a chance as she spied Daphne van Domselaar off her line. But the effort from the Spurs captain was just wide.

Van Domselaar was required to save well from Thomas and keep the scores level a couple of minutes later when Graham’s clipped pass found the Scottish striker unmarked.

On the hour mark, though, Villa retook the lead over Tottenham in fantastic fashion.

A half-cleared corner landed to Maz Pacheco on the edge of the box. She played a side-footed pass to Nobbs, who struck the ball first time into the top corner.

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Jess Naz was next to be thwarted by the brilliance of van Domselaar. She took Graham’s pass in her stride and cut in on her left before unleashing a low, curled effort on goal. Ultimately, the Dutch shot-stopper pushed it well away for a corner.

Villa were nearly home and hosed with 18 minutes to go when Kenza Dali broke down the Spurs’ right-hand side. Dali slid the ball across the box to Nobbs, who was unlucky to see another wonderful effort smack the underside of the bar and bounce away.

The Spurs comeback never really materialised despite boss Robert Vilahamn’s attempts to spark a revival. Villa comfortably held on to the win — moving up the WSL standings within three points of Tottenham in sixth place.

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