On top from the off Spurs saw their half time lead slip away after the restart when Crystal Palace rallied to pull level, their Conti Cup group match pushed all the way to penalties.
Spurs put the pressure on
Angela Addison had the first sight of goal three minutes in, her direct free kick up and over the wall but up and over the bar too, the visitors unable to have an instant impact.
Shaking off the summer dust, both teams put in questionable challenges, a round of free kicks served out early in the match, both looking dangerous with dead balls.
Chasing down the left, Addison sprung into life, ultimately guilty of one too many touches in the box, the young attacker let the defence get back and put the ball behind.
Very much on the front foot, the Lilywhites rattled the door handle at the resulting corner, Rianna Dean’s header well taken but left to bounce off of the lot of Megen Lynch’s bar, the Eagles fighting to live another day.
Lynch was soon called into action again midway through the half, first to punch an effort clear, the 'keeper glad to see Jess Naz’s volley fly over, moments before she smothered a Renee Hector chance.
A foul on Kallie Balfour just outside the box gave Palace a chance, Ashlee Hincks’ whipped free kick sent just over the bar, the hosts left to rue the missed chance – one that had been hard to come by – when they conceded moments later.
More good work form Addison put the pressure on the Eagles’ defence, a touch from Lynch vital to keeping the visitors out.
However, failing to clear the ball, the hosts were outdone as Josie Green ghosted into the area, her curled effort from the left side of the box too much for the goalkeeper, her clean sheet finally lost.
One very nearly becoming two at the next attack, Bianca Baptiste’s cross-cum-shot rocketing against the underside of the bar before bouncing out.
Playing with heat under their backsides, the hosts came out for the second half fired up, instantly looking to work Chloe Morgan, the goalie largely untested in the first half.
A snapshot from Ciara Watling enough for the 28-year-old ‘keeper to get her gloves dirty as she clutched the effort to her stomach.
Turning the tide, Spurs found their rhythm again, a flurry in front of goal ten minutes in not enough to see them extend their lead, the defence ably anchored by Lynch, doing just enough to keep them out.
Four chances in the wink of an eye not enough for the Lilywhites to claim a cushion.
Still looking like the best attacking threat for the home side, Hincks rolled the dice twice more before the hour, her dipping free kick just too high to trouble Morgan before the ‘keeper claimed a scuffed shot from seven yards.
Morgan finally undone when she stormed off of her line in attempt to close out Balfour, the attacker sharp enough to take a touch around her and dispatch the ball into the empty net.
Gifted the chance to regain the lead almost immediately after the restart, having been felled in the box, Addison could only smash the ball into the upright from the spot, Megan Wynne’s follow up a complete miscue.
Still looking like the more dangerous team, Spurs continued to ask the question in the box, the introduction of Sarah Wiltshire adding a different dimension.
A rock for the hosts, Lynch denied Spurs another certain goal with a meaty paw at the near post to deny Baptise after the striker had floated in behind.
With screams of, “SHOOT!” floating up from the crowd, the home side did just that, moving the ball into the final third, they attacked the away goal with panache, block after block from Spurs denying them a later winner. Baptiste unable to bring about an joy at the other end,
Her cross from the by-line drifting behind in stoppage time. A hopeful shot from Balfour the last notable action, the ball stinging Morgan’s gloves as she lifted it straight up before catching it as it plummeted to earth.
Penalties to claim the win
With the league cup following the same rules as the year before, the match went straight to penalties after 90 minutes, spot kicks used as a tie breaker in the group stage.
Having scored the equaliser to force the penalties, Balfour was first up, her low shot to the bottom right corner leaving Morgan rooted.
The right favoured by Wiltshire as she despatched Spurs’ first, slipping the ball just inside of the post, her shot mirrored by Anneka Nuttall who followed after.
The one to slice her spot kick against the woodwork in normal time, Addison made no mistake and found the bottom left, again her shot followed by the next Eagle, Chloe Burr clinical.
Hector the first to miss as she sent the ball over the bar, advantage Palace after Leesa Haydock picked out the bottom left, the same corner favoured by Sophie McClean.
Dangerous all match, Hincks stepped up with the decisive penalty, her shot not as clinical as others but that didn’t stop it from rippling into the back of the net.