The first Women’s Super League North London derby drew a record crowd of 38,262 for the competition on Sunday when Arsenal secured a 2-0 victory at Tottenham.
The newly fully professional side held out until the 66th minute when Kim Little struck for the champions. Vivianne Miedema extended Arsenal’s lead in the 82nd minute.
“We got behind them a couple of times but it was the cliché of a lack of execution,” Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro said.
“Today was a real indication of where the league is. The league is at the highest level. Every game is a challenge. Every game is a tactical decision. You can’t make mistakes.”
It was the first time Tottenham, in its first top-flight campaign, had staged women’s soccer at its main 61,000-capacity stadium, which opened earlier this year.
“It’s momentous for Spurs Women, to see how far we’ve come,” joint Tottenham head coach Karen Hills said. “The players deserve to be playing in front of these big crowds. Hopefully it won’t just be an occasion, hopefully it will be the norm.”
The crowd surpassed the 31,213 at Manchester City for the visit of Manchester United on the opening weekend of the season in September.
Arsenal’s trip across North London was the pick of the games on the first designated Women’s Football Weekend in England that drew a cumulative attendance of 77,323 across 11 games in the top two divisions – including 23,500 at Anfield for the Merseyside derby.
Lucy Graham’s speculative strike slipped through Anke Preuss’s grasp, giving Everton a 1-0 win at Liverpool, the two-time WSL champions who are in last place after six games.
“It’s going to hurt us more as we were the better team today and we gave them a goal with a mistake from our keeper,” Liverpool manager Vicky Jepson said. “It was a goal we chucked in the back of our net. There was no way they were going to score today if we didn’t give them that.
“[Preuss] came to me and put her arms around me and apologized for the mistake.”
League leader Chelsea opened the season by playing host to Tottenham in front of about 25,000 at Stamford Bridge, but usually plays at a smaller stadium in South London.
For Sunday’s visit of Manchester United to Kingsmeadow, the crowd of 4,790 was a WSL high for a game not played in a large stadium usually used by the men’s team.
It was a contentious victory against the league newcomers.
United believed Millie Turner was unfairly penalized for challenging Fran Kirby in the penalty area and Maren Mjelde’s spot kick sealed a 1-0 victory.