GARETH TAYLOR says Manchester City players’ touching shirt-waving tribute to Jill Roord was a nice but unexpected surprise.
His side’s 2-0 defeat of Tottenham saw them celebrate their opener by holding the midfield ace’s jersey aloft days after her knee injury blow.
The Sunday afternoon away game for Taylor’s side was the first match after Roord was confirmed to have sustained anterior cruciate ligament damage.
The injury to the player, who has been a key figure in City’s attack occurred during her team’s midweek defeat of Man Unitedin the Conti Cup.
Despite her season being ended prematurely Roord travelled with her team-mates to watch them in action against sixth-placed Spurs.
Of their shirt-waving tribute, Citizens boss Taylor said: “It surprised me. I didn’t know anything about it.
Read More Football Stories
“It says a lot about Jill that she travelled with us and wanted to come.
“Also the fact we’ve seen such brilliant play from her this season and hit the ground running. Alot of credit has to go to the players.
“It was a really nice touch and really nice for Jill to be there today to experience that.”
And the clinical finish saw the Jamaica ace extend her lead at the summit of this term’s WSL top scorers chart by one goal.
Taylor added: “Bunny is always going to get chances because this team is good at creating. She understands and realises that.
“The thing with Bunny is that she will always score goals. We see that.
“What impresses me the most is her energy and workrate, the way she presses without the ball.
“She’s just such a difficult player to play against and she has done fantastically well for us. I think that was her 50th appearance and her 42nd goal. That’s phenomenal.”
Spurs’ last duel with Man City ended up with them on the wrong end of a 7-0 loss on the road to City last November.
But the North London side were tighter defensively this time around.
The visitors got off to a solid start dominating possession and attacking chances.
Skipper Alex Greenwood forced a class diving save from Barbora Votikova with a seventh minute free-kick.
And it took just five minutes more for the deadlock to be broken inadvertently through Tottenham’s Amy Turner.
The defender turned the ball into her own net following Lauren Hemp whipping in a delivery intended for Shaw giving the visitors the lead.
The 12th minute opener was followed by Hemp and her colleagues running to the dugout to celebrate with Roord.
And away fans chanted “there’s only one Jill Roord” shortly after her team-mates held her number 20 shirt aloft.
Spurs thought they’d levelled shortly before the half hour mark moments after Laura Coombs scuffed a shot at the other end.
Martha Thomas got behind the visitors’ back line firing past keeper Khiara Kheating before sprinting off to celebrate.
But the hosts’ joy was short-lived with the goal ruled out for offside.
The first minute of the second half saw Filippa Angeldahl go close, firing narrowly wide for City.
Shaw gave them a 2-0 lead after combining with Hemp and firing home her 12th league goal of the season in the 51st minute.
The hosts attempted to nab a late consolation with Bethany England driving into the box around the 83rd minute.
But the shot for Spurs skipper, who was presented with artwork of herself in action in honour of making 150 Tottenham appearances, was fired straight at Keating.
While City held out to keep pace with Chelsea cutting their lead to three points, Tottenham gave a good account of themselves despite their 2-0 loss.
Head coach Vilahamn said: “We have made progress and are better defenders.
“But I think it also shows we are in a journey and are not there yet to compete with the best teams in this league.
“Man City are absolutely brilliant in how they play and they have played for a while with this team.
“It was a little bit tricky because we wanted to make sure we defended well with this team and have a good plan, but that (opening) goal loses energy for us.
“We are still in a journey to beat them, but I think next year we will be more ready.”