Matilda Vinberg’s first goal for Tottenham on her first start was enough to secure a 1-0 Women’s Super League win at home to Leicester.

The Sweden international, who joined Spurs on a two-and-a-half-year deal in January, struck less than two minutes after kick-off at the Gaughan Group Stadium.

Leicester grew into the contest, coming close to an equaliser in the second half when Jutta Rantala’s effort came back off the underside of the crossbar.

Sixth-placed Tottenham restored their three-point advantage over Aston Villa with the win, just under a month before they face the Foxes again in their FA Cup semi-final.

Tottenham boss Robert Vilahamn made two changes from their quarter-final shootout victory over Manchester City, bringing in Vinberg in place of the injured Martha Thomas and swapping Olga Ahinten for Drew Spence.

There were two changes for Leicester, with Lena Petermann and Yuka Momiki in the starting line-up, while first-team assistant manager Jennifer Foster and coach Stephen Kirby oversaw the contest in the continued absence of Willie Kirk over what the club has said is an “internal matter”.

Vinberg fired Spurs into an early lead, tapping Jessica Naz’s delivery from the left past Lize Kop.

The hosts kept applying pressure and came close to doubling their advantage through a crossbar-clipping effort from Spence, who had a second chance blocked by a visiting defender shortly afterwards.

Leicester’s first real chance came through Saori Takarada, claimed by Spurs goalkeeper Becky Spencer, who then denied Petermann a minute later as the visitors began to find a foothold in what had been a dominant start for the hosts.

Leicester enjoyed the bulk of what few chances came late in the half, Momiki stinging Spencer’s palms, Janice Cayman directing an effort wide and Spencer smothering the ball from a goalmouth scramble before making a big save from Aileen Whelan’s effort to preserve Tottenham’s lead at the break.

By early in the second half the visitors had overcome their quiet start and overtaken their opponents for the possession advantage, nearly drawing level when Rantala hit the bar.

Vilahamn made a double change, introducing Rosella Ayane in place of goal-scorer Vinberg while Celin Bizet was replaced by Bethany England, who forced Kop into a low save four minutes after her introduction.

The hosts missed a golden opportunity to double their lead when Naz squared the ball across to Ayane who was through on goal but somehow she directed her effort wide from the edge of the six-yard box.

England had the ball in the net in stoppage time but the offside flag was raised.