Beth England sparks Spurs’ FA Cup cruise against London City Lionesses

<span>Photograph: Simon Dael/REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Simon Dael/REX/Shutterstock

Tottenham put five past the Championship leaders London City Lionesses to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Beth England and the Arsenal loanee Mana Iwabuchi put the home team ahead in the first half before Drew Spence, Eveliina Summanen and an own goal crushed London City in the second.

“It was a really positive day for us,” said the Spurs manager, Rehanne Skinner, who praised the impact of England and Iwabuchi since they have joined the club.

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“The biggest thing is that the standards are really, really high. We want to keep driving our standards and they demand that in everything we do, so it’s helping everyone go up to another level, which is obviously one of the big reasons for bringing them in.”

Despite the eventual emphatic scoreline, the possibility of a cup upset looked feasible inside the first 10 minutes as London City came out flying at Brisbane Road. The visiting side seemed unperturbed by the loss of Melissa Phillips, with the announcement last week that their manager would be joining the NWSL side Angel City as first assistant coach. The forwards Sarah Ewens and Karin Muya were particularly bright, the former forcing a smart save from the Spurs goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela.

The profligacy in the opening stages allowed Tottenham, who have lost five back-to-back league games, to weather the pressure and in the 11th minute the home team punished London City, with England heading Rosella Ayane’s cross from the left in at the back post.

The goal marked a decided shift in momentum and seemed to wind London City, the early fluidity and direct play seeped away. As the visiting side tried to regroup, Skinner’s side took a hold of the game. The second goal was fortunate, though, and a sucker punch to London City, coming in added time at the end of the first half.

Iwabuchi collected Ashleigh Neville’s cut back with her back to goal and was given time to turn and shoot. The effort was headed straight at Shae Yanez but the ball took a deflection off the captain, Harley Bennett, and sailed beyond the goalkeeper.

“The performance in the first half I’m very happy with,” said the manager, Nikita Runnacles, who has stepped in following the departure of Phillips. “I thought we came out with the right mindset, put them under pressure and looked like we could get a goal, which was exactly what we needed in that first 10 minutes.

“For them to go up the other end and get a goal hurt us for a minute and we got compact, but then we went again and we had another couple of opportunities.”

Shortly after the break there were protests from the team in pink and grey as calls for a possible penalty were waved away by the referee. The reaction from Spurs was instant, with Spence turning in after Yanez pushed away the substitute Summanen’s shot.

The margin was far from reflective of a bright performance from the Championship side but it grew again when Bennett’s miskick sent the ball looping into her own net after she had beaten the Spurs forward Nikola Karczewska to Summanen’s cross.

In the end it was comfortable for Tottenham and Summanen added the team’s fifth, firing past Yanez after being released by Karczewska.