Last-gasp Longhurst header snatches Hammers draw at Spurs

Kate Longhurst’s last-gasp header snatched a late 1-1 draw for 10-player West Ham Women at Tottenham Women, who missed the chance to go second in the WSL table.

Longhurst – a lifelong Hammers fan and season ticket holder – looped the ball home in the 92nd minute to secure a draw for a lacklustre West Ham in what was their only shot on target.

It cancelled out Rosella Ayane’s penalty (54), given away by Hawa Cissoko, who was sent off just minutes later for a second bookable offence (56).

Both teams were playing their first games in almost a month, and it was Tottenham who started the better. Ayane forced a good save from Anna Leat – making her WSL debut – before firing a tame effort goalwards after a quick break.

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Kate Longhurst scores an injury-time equaliser to earn West Ham a valuable point against Tottenha

West Ham offered very little by way of a reply with their best spell of the first half coming in the final five minutes. Lisa Evans and Dagny Brynjarsdottir both saw efforts blocked, before Grace Fisk flicked an effort just over the crossbar. Brynjarsdottir had nodded a corner down for her, but the defender send her effort curling onto the roof of the net.

A mere minute later, Ayane again went close. Jiali Tang picked her out on the right, she took a touch before curling an effort goalwards – but it just swang wide of the top corner as the half ended goalless.

The second half began with a burst of activity as Tottenham took the lead inside 10 minutes. They were awarded a penalty as Cissoko clattered into the back of Tang. The West Ham defender fiercely protested her innocence – just escaping a second booking – but the penalty correctly stood.

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Rosella Ayane puts Tottenham ahead in the London derby against West Ham after Hawa Cissoko fouled Jiali Tang in the area

Ayane was the player to step up and hammered the ball into the bottom corner, with Tottenham deserving their lead on the balance of play.

But while Cissoko had escaped a red card for her part in the penalty, another heated reaction proved to be her downfall shortly after. She tripped Jessica Naz over in midfield and kicked the ball away in frustration afterwards. It was enough for referee Amy Fearn to produce a second yellow card to send Cissoko off – having been booked for a challenge on Ayane in the first half – and reduce West Ham to 10 players.

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Hawa Cissoko is sent off after receiving a second yellow card moments after conceding the penalty that led to Tottenham’s goal

It is the second time this season that Cissoko has been shown a red card after also being sent off in a 2-0 defeat to Brighton in September.

Tottenham had the chances for a second too. After some neat play, Ashleigh Neville drove through two claret and blue shirts before striking but Lucy Parker managed to stop it just before the goal line. Tang then forced a good save from Leat, who came out to block the China international’s effort.

Team news

  • Tottenham made three changes from their last outing a month ago. Tinja-Riikka Korpela, Rachel Williams and Cho So-hyun miss out, with Becky Spencer, Jiali Tang and Roselle Ayane into the side.
  • West Ham handed a debut to Emma Snerle as they also played their first game of 2022.

Spurs were on their way to second in the WSL table and seeing when Longhurst popped up with the equaliser in stoppage time. Brynjarsdottir floated a cross into the middle, with the Hammers midfielder ahead of Molly Bartrip. She then looped a header over Becky Spence – who had not needed to make a save all game – and wheeled away in a rapturous celebration.

The result sees Tottenham remain in fourth, although level on 21 points with Manchester United Women and Chelsea Women in the Champions League places. The result does keep West Ham in eighth, and are now four games unbeaten in the WSL.

Player of the match – Ashleigh Neville

Sky Sports’ Sue Smith on co-commentary:

“There’s been a few, but I have to go for Ashleigh Neville. She’s been brilliant in terms defensively and going forward, she’s shown real attacking promise, wanting to get into the box and make things happen.”

What’s next?

Tottenham are in WSL Cup action in midweek, hosting Liverpool Women in their quarter-final clash. They will then travel to Manchester United Women in the WSL next Sunday; kick-off 12pm.

West Ham also face a big quarter-final in the WSL Cup as they host Chelsea on Wednesday. They will then welcome Everton in the WSL next Sunday; kick-off 3pm.

You can watch free match highlights of both games from midnight on Monday.

Source : Sky Sports