Beth England leads way as Tottenham leave Reading rock bottom of WSL

A double from Beth England helped Tottenham to an emphatic 4-1 win that ensured their WSL survival and left Reading on the brink of relegation

Beth England has proved an inspired signing for Tottenham and two goals from the striker inspired her team to secure their Women’s Super League status with an emphatic victory over Reading. Ten goals in 11 league appearances since her winter move from Chelsea have been invaluable in keeping them in the division.

Reading’s future appears bleak though after a fifth successive defeat and they will be relegated on Sunday today if Leicester defeat West Ham.

First-half goals from England and Celin Bizet Ildhusøy put Tottenham in control. England pounced on a calamitous defensive mistake to add Spurs’s third and the substitute Kit Graham scored a fourth before Justine Vanhaevermaet’s late header for Reading.

The sparse turnout for their first double header was undoubtedly adversely affected by Spurs’s earlier shambolic capitulation against Brentford. But whereas the men fluffed their lines in their final home game of the season, the women delivered an uplifting performance to lighten the mood in north London.

Vicky Jepson, Tottenham’s interim head coach, said: “It was a big occasion, especially being the first WSL-Premier League double-header. The players were under significant pressure and I couldn’t be more proud. The task was to stay in the WSL and we have completed that now.”

Spurs enjoyed the early possession and threatened through an opening created by Drew Spence but Rosella Ayane’s low strike was saved by Grace Moloney. Reading responded and Sanne Troelsgaard’s header from a corner forced Becky Spencer, who was recalled after the defeat at Manchester United, into a save.

The breakthrough came just before the half-hour mark with England heading past Moloney from Molly Bartrip’s chipped cross. She has scored in all seven home league matches for the club since her January move.

Spurs doubled their lead before the break with a slick move, leading to Eveliina Summanen’s through ball releasing Bizet Ildhusøy who calmly sidefooted into the net.

Tottenham continued to dominate in the second half and were not put under any significant pressure from their beleaguered opponents. Reading’s hopes of mounting a comeback were scuppered when a woeful backpass from Easther Mayi Kith was pounced on by England and the striker rounded Moloney to extend Spurs’s lead.

Spence was a constant threat for Spurs and her long-range strike had Moloney stretching as it arrowed just past a post.

Spurs scored their fourth goal with brittle Reading undone by a direct yet but effective attack. A long ball over the top from Bartrip exposed their defence and Graham raced through to finish past Moloney.

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Reading scored through Vanhaevermaet’s near-post header but it was little consolation and their fate could soon be sealed.

Kelly Chambers, Reading’s manager, said: “We can’t be deluded with what needs to happen. When you have Chelsea in the final game it makes it 10 times harder. It’s a tough day and a tough season. But we just need to reflect on ourselves and leagues don’t lie. You end up being where you should be.”


Simon Mail at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

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