Sophie Román Haug played the role of the antagonist at Brisbane Road, scoring a goal as Liverpool overcame a deficit against Tottenham to earn a draw that prevented the north London team from moving up to second place in the league.
Celin Bizet, a fellow player of Haug, scored a well-deserved goal for Tottenham in the first half. However, Matt Beard’s Liverpool team also earned 11 points and are tied with Spurs, with Tottenham ahead on goal difference.
The coach of Tottenham, Robert Vilahamn, accepted that the game ended in a draw and stated that their next challenge in progressing is figuring out how to secure wins. He acknowledged that the opponent, being a strong team, deserved their goal. Vilahamn commended their efforts as well and recognized the intensity of the game, stating he was not dissatisfied with his team’s performance.
Our goal is to increase our scoring. We do not want to solely focus on defending with a 1-0 lead. Although we faced a similar situation last week, it is more challenging to actually score goals. We are currently in the process of transitioning to a phase where we can dominate games and successfully defeat our opponents, but there is still one more stage of development that we need to reach.
Under the leadership of Vilahamn, Tottenham has undergone a transformation. The addition of England forward Beth England in January proved to be crucial, as she scored an impressive 13 goals in 14 games, helping the team avoid relegation. After a string of nine losses, manager Rehanne Skinner was fired in March and her assistant, Vicky Jepson, was left with the responsibility of steering the team away from relegation. Despite this challenge, Jepson led the team to five wins, including a victory against fellow relegation contenders Leicester immediately after Skinner’s departure. The team only suffered one loss in their final five games of the season, ultimately finishing in ninth place.
This season Spurs are fighting at the top, such is the transformation under Vilahamn. Against Liverpool they could not quite seal a fourth win of the season, but they did move to 11 points, just seven fewer than their tally for the entire 2022‑23 campaign.
The starting lineup for Spurs had one alteration from their previous match against Everton, with Drew Spence out due to a hamstring injury and Kit Graham taking her place. Liverpool’s Ceri Holland was added back to the starting lineup after recovering from a calf injury sustained during international duty, while Mia Enderby also joined the team. Missy Bo Kearns was on the bench and Jas Matthews was not included in the matchday squad.
Against a Liverpool team that has also been performing well recently, but has slowed down after a strong start, Tottenham was in control and remained calm. They were ultimately rewarded with a goal just before the 30 minute mark. Bizet received the ball in her own half after Liverpool lost possession, and she ran with it as the red shirts backed off. She then shifted to the right and scored a low shot past Rachael Laws. It was an impressive solo play, helped by Martha Thomas drawing defenders away as they expected a pass.
Their hard work should have been rewarded, but their wastefulness caught up to them in the second half. In the 65th minute, Haug broke away from Angharad James and made a strong header off of Yana Daniëls’s cross to tie the game.
Beard stated that they were fortunate in their performance today. He acknowledges that they may have been lucky, but he believes there were lessons to be learned. They have drawn in their previous game against West Ham and today, where they had the opportunity to win. Comparing to last year where they did not win any away games, this year they remain undefeated. Therefore, their focus is on securing at least one point if they cannot secure three.
The Spurs attempted to respond and nearly caught up to Liverpool with a swift counterattack. Substitute Jessica Naz was sent through the center and had a close-range shot saved by Laws. As time ran out, Liverpool seemed to have a better chance of scoring a winning goal, but the Spurs managed to hold on and earn a point.