Brighton & Hove Albion booked their place in the third round of the FA Cup with an exciting 3-2 victory over fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs twice came from behind to level after first Tammy Waine and then Rosie Kmita had put Brighton ahead.
But Kirsty Barton’s spectacular free-kick 15 minutes from the end secured a deserved win for the Withdean side.
Their victory was based on an impressive midfield performance where Barton, Charlotte Owen and Kmita were outstanding.
Waine and Cherelle Khassal gave the playmakers plenty of options up front. And apart from a 20-minute spell after half-time, when Spurs scored twice, their defence largely coped with the visitors’ forays forward, with Cally Beaumont and Yasmin Poole particularly impressive.
Waine gave Brighton an early lead, showing outstanding skill and strength to control a high ball under pressure from two defenders before executing a smart turn and firing over stranded goalkeeper Chloe Morgan from 30 yards for her ninth goal of the season.
Brighton dominated the first half and should have had more goals to show for their possession, with Barton and Owen pulling the strings in midfield and Kmita threading some dangerous through-balls behind the defence.
But Spurs’ back line – in which Robyn Downie was dominant – held out for the remainder of the first half.
Their forwards were feeding largely off scraps, but just before the interval Brighton ‘keeper Toni-Anne Wayne had to make a smart save to keep out a low shot from Jessica Cheeseman.
Too much room
Spurs emerged a different side after the break, re-energised and finally making use of their midfield abilities to test the Brighton & Hove defence.
And they were rewarded on 49 minutes when Jenna Schillaci was given far too much room inside the Brighton penalty area, and she curled a delicious left-foot shot over Wayne.
The goal stung Brighton back into life, and six minutes later they were back in front.
No sooner had Wayne turned an ambitious long-range shot on to the bar than Brighton were at the other end of the field.
Kmita, playing against her former team-mates, was sent clear, when Fran Gamble failed to cut out the through-ball, and the winger kept her head and slotted the ball coolly past Morgan.
She did not celebrate her goal against the club she joined with twin sister Mollie at the age of 11.
The setback so soon after clawing their way back into the game would have been enough to make many sides wilt. But Spurs hit back strongly, and Wendy Martin was rewarded for her excellent performance when she slipped between two defenders to head home a free-kick on 65 minutes.
However, Spurs were rarely to threaten seriously again, as Brighton reasserted their grip on midfield, despite an impressive display by Spurs substitute Katie O’Leary.
And player-of-the-match Barton finished them off in the 76th minute when she curled in a well judged free-kick from just outside the area, taking Albion through to the FA Cup third round for the second successive season.
Sent Her Forward player of the match: Kirsty Barton (Brighton & Hove Albion)