BY KISHAN VAGHELA
Jessica Naz’s first-half strike ensured Tottenham Hotspur remained top of the FA Women’s Championship with a hard-fought 1-0 win over fellow high-flyers Charlton Athletic.
The 18-year-old’s individual effort saw the hosts move five points ahead of the Addicks in the table and put their disappointment of defeat at Manchester United last time out behind them.
The Addicks meanwhile slipped to fourth after Durham’s win at Millwall Lionesses.
The hosts began the game sloppily as they made a number of unforced errors, and they nearly paid the ultimate price, but Lily Agg’s 30-yard-effort eight minutes in just skimmed over the crossbar.
However, in the 24th minute Spurs took the lead when Naz robbed the Charlton defence of possession before going through on goal, rounding Katie Startup and slotting home.
Charlton had their keeper, and Agg, to thank for not falling further behind 12 minutes later. Startup tipped Josie Green’s 25-yard-effort on to the bar before Agg hooked Renee Hector’s header at the back post from the resulting corner off the line.
Spurs could have extend edtheir lead a minute before the break but Sarah Wiltshire’s strike on the half-volley went just wide of the near post.
They went close again three minutes after the interval but the woodwork denied them following Wiltshire’s shot on the turn, before substitute Bianca Baptiste was denied by Startup 15 minutes later.
Nineteen minutes from time the Addicks believed they had got an opportunity to equalise but referee Emily Heaslip waved away their claims for a penalty after Megan Wynne clashed with Agg.
Agg and Liz Ejupi had further chances as Charlton applied the pressure in the last 15 minutes but Spurs, who nearly added a second right at the death through Baptiste, held on to get back to winning ways.
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Spurs goalscorer Jessica Naz, who got off the mark for the season, said: “We had a tough test against Manchester United [a 4-1 defeat last time out], we worked hard in training and we came here with a strong mentality.
“Credit to the team, we stuck together, fought hard and it all paid off as the result shows.
“I’m obviously happy to get my first goal. I’ve done well with the team and we have worked really well together.
“Wherever I play I work well with my teammates because they trust me, so that makes it so much easier on the pitch.
“We know we are all talented players and not everything is going to go our way, so we need to show our talents every single match, and we did that here. We dug in, worked hard and came away with the points that we needed.
Charlton’s Lily Agg said: “It was disappointing not to take the opportunity (to go ahead of Spurs in the table). The changing room reflects that.
“It was a scrappy game and it was an individual mistake that cost us. We knew it was going to be a tight match but a little mistake decided the game and that shows how close things can be.
“It happens to everyone and we all make mistakes – that is part of it, we are a team and we all help each other.
“We started off quite well and were probably more in control of the game but we lacked the final pass or final shot. In the final third, we just weren’t there.”
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