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Report: Blues Women 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Kit Graham’s goal consigned injury-hit Blues to a last-day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur but Carla Ward’s side had already done enough to secure Barclays FA Women’s Super League survival.

Bristol City’s defeat at Brighton meant there would be no last-gasp escape for the Robins on a day that saw Blues fight for everything until the final moments.

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Sarah Mayling and Mollie Green returned to a Blues line-up that was short of skipper Christie Murray and Emma Kelly from the trip to Manchester City seven days previously. Republic of Ireland international Harriet Scott wore the captain’s armband for the league finale, while the visitors had a number of former Blues in their ranks, including former skipper Kerys Harrop.

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The first-half was packed with endeavour but chances were at a premium. Blues broke with purpose while Spurs enjoyed spells of good possession that saw them frequently move towards the 18-yard box only to lack quality when they got there.

Blues forced early corners and set pieces and had a credible shout for a penalty when Scott hit the deck but referee Lisa Benn was unmoved.

Spurs gradually built pressure with Jessica Naz having two bites of the cherry from the right-hand side of the box, the first getting blocked before the second, a chip, was clutched by 'keeper Hannah Hampton.

Ex-Blues midfielder Lucy Quinn got inside marker Ruby Mace to latch onto a lifted ball from deep but the collision between the two in the box again did not interest the referee.

Graham’s drive from the left of the box was blocked for a corner but while Tottenham kept coming, Hampton had little to deal with building up to the interval.

Half-time: Blues Women 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0

The second-half saw the match follow a similar pattern to the first with Blues looking dangerous in flashes.

Claudia Walker latched on to a hopeful ball forward, running her marker and, with no blue shirts in the box, pulled the trigger and flashed wide from a tight angle.

Spurs continued to keep the ball well and having been awarded a free-kick on the left edge of the box, Naz’s hanging ball to the back post was thumped wide by Rachel Williams.

The decisive moment arrived 19 minutes from time as Graham picked up possession with her back to goal, turned and surged forward before planting a crisp low shot into the bottom corner to Hampton’s left.

Blues head coach Carla Ward shuffled around the players she had and they got up the pitch much more in the latter stages.

Walker and Emily Murphy were up for the challenge throughout and both had shots charged down during some penalty box pinball from Rebecca Holloway’s corner nine minutes from the end.

Georgia Brougham was the next to pounce on Spurs hesitancy at the back but the visitors retreated in numbers to snuff out her cutback meant for Scott, while Lucy Whipp’s teasing centre just evaded Walker in the third minute of added time.

As it was, Bristol City had trailed early on in a must-win game for them, ensuring Blues were never in danger of the drop.

Blues: Hannah Hampton, Harriet Scott, Georgia Brougham, Ruby Mace, Rebecca Holloway, Lucy Whipp, Mollie Green, Sarah Mayling, Emily Murphy, Jamie-Lee Napier, Claudia Walker.

Unused substitute: Sophie Whitehouse.

Booking: Harriet Scott 88.

Tottenham Hotspur: Rebecca Spencer, Kerys Harrop, Shelina Zadorsky, Ashleigh Neville (Gemma Davison 74), Abbie McManus, So-Hyun Cho, Jessica Naz, Kit Graham, Chloe Peplow (Angela Addison 56), Rachel Williams, Lucy Quinn (Rosella Ayane 56).

Unused substitutes: Siri Worm, Esther Morgan, Josie Green, Amy Martin

Referee: Lisa Benn. 

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