Bianca Baptiste’s well-taken double helped Tottenham Hotspur win the FA Women’s Premier League title as they beat Blackburn Rovers in compelling Championship Play-Off at the Valley.
Baptiste’s clinical finishes and Wendy Martin's majestic injury-time lob did the damage in south London and means that Spurs will be playing in FA WSL 2 next season, providing they meet the requisite off-field criteria.
FA WPL Southern Division champions Tottenham headed into the Play-Off looking to complete a spectacular quadruple, having also lifted the FA WPL Cup and the Boux Avenue Cup this term, while Northern Division winners Blackburn had gone the entirety of their league campaign unbeaten.
- FA Women's Premier League
- Championship Play-Off
- Sunday May 28, 2017
- The Valley
- By Luke Baker
And Baptiste’s double either side of half-time – neatly finishing Martin’s pinpoint through-ball before hooking home from the edge of the box – ensured it was the north Londoners who ended their brilliant campaign in the perfect possible fashion, before Martin added the gloss at the death
Spurs were marginally on top in a cagey opening 20 minutes, without creating any clear-cut chances, although Ronnell Humes did loop a shot on to the roof of the net when a corner was punched clear to her on the edge of the area.
Down the other end, energetic Rovers midfielder Jess Holbrook failed to make convincing contact on a neat ball into her path before Ella Toone drove at the Tottenham defence but fired harmlessly wide from 20 yards.
However Spurs took the lead ten minutes before the break as Martin slipped in Baptiste on the inside-right, and she neatly finished across goalkeeper Danielle Hill, with the ball rolling across the line off the inside of the post.
Martin herself almost made it 2-0 less than two minutes later but poked inches wide from 12 yards out.
Blackburn then had a glorious opportunity to equalise on the hour mark when Toone’s header fell to Saffron Jordan six yards out, yet the normally clinical striker’s effort crashed against Toni-Anne Wayne’s left-hand post.
But Baptiste put the result beyond doubt midway through the second period as she cut across the edge of the box and sublimely hooked the ball into the far corner on the turn.
Only a last-ditch Danielle Whitham tackle prevented Martin making it 3-0 but the striker got the goal her tireless performance deserved at the death, spotting Wayne off her line and producing an exquisite lob into the left-hand corner.
Tottenham Hotspur: 1 Toni-Anne Wayne, 2 Lucia Leon, 3 Leah Rawle, 5 Sophie McLean, 7 Josie Green, 8 Bianca Baptiste, 10 Wendy Martin, 11 Jenna Schillaci (capt), 16 Maya Vio, 19 Renee Hector, 24 Ronnell Humes
Substitutes: 14 Katie O’Leary for Humes 69, 12 Riana Soobadoo for Rawle 88, 4 Shannon Moloney for Vio 90+1
Substitutes not used: 18 Eartha Pond, 20 Kelley Blanchflower
Manager: Karen Hills
Goals: Baptiste 35, 66, Martin 90+3
Yellow cards: Green 74
Blackburn Rovers: 37 Danielle Hill, 2 Danielle Whitham, 4 Lynda Shepherd (capt), 5 Kelsey Pearson, 6 Jess Holbrook, 8 Natasha Fenton, 9 Saffron Jordan, 12 Kayleigh McDonald, 18 Ellie Stewart, 19 Faye McCoy, 20 Ella Toone
Substitutes: 10 Ria Montgomery for Fenton 75, 11 Emma Rankin for Toone 75, 3 Alex Taylor for McCoy 89
Substitutes not used: 14 Ellie Cook, 7 Hannah Fryer
Manager: Gemma Donnelly
Yellow cards: Toone 55, Jordan 87
Referee: Sarah Garratt