Southampton FC Women continued their winning run in The Vitality Women’s FA Cup, brushing aside Yeovil 3-0 to progress to the fourth round.
A Shannon Sievwright stunner was enjoyed by all in attendance for Saints’ first goal, the midfielder striking an unstoppable effort from range into the left corner of Beth Howard’s net.
The lead was then doubled midway through the second half, Sophia Pharoah sliding in at the far post to touch home Rachel Panting’s driven cross from the left.
Southampton added their third and final goal on 75 minutes, Panting finding the bottom corner with a well struck effort from a tight angle.
Before kick-off, a one-minute silence was observed in respect of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away on Friday; while players sported black armbands throughout the encounter.
Once started, the game was in stark contrast to the sombre mood prior and featured two teams that flew out of the blocks, every player visibly eager to be stronger and louder than their opposite number, with a place in the fourth round at stake.
Pharoah spotted the darting Ella Pusey breaking away on seven minutes and fed the striker with a delicately weighted through ball that surely would’ve seen Howard’s goal breached, if it wasn’t for an excellent recovery slide challenge from Bow Jackson.
A string of intricate passes down the left-wing gifted Southampton a golden opportunity to unlock Yeovil’s defence twenty minutes later, but an excellent close range from save from Howard following Pusey’s effort, and a last-ditch clearance from recovering defender Kelly Aldridge off the goal-line left Saints with an uneasy feeling that today wouldn’t be their day.
However, nobody in Yeovil green and white could do anything about the sensational effort that did eventually give Saints the lead on the half hour mark, Sievwright coming onto a flat Yeovil clearance and striking the ball first time from 30 yards with pinpoint accuracy into the left corner of Howard’s net. An exceptional goal by an exceptional player.
A defensive mix-up at the back for Southampton gave Yeovil an opportunity to reply shortly after, but Jenna Markham couldn’t direct her half volley which consequently sailed harmlessly wide of Kayla Rendell’s goal.
It would have been fair to presume Southampton would come into the second half content and eager to protect their goal advantage, but in reality The Saints emerged with just as much flare to that witnessed in the earlier period, a nudge to the quality of the side and the confidence shown in them by Head Coach Marieanne Spacey-Cale.
Showcasing their on-pitch chemistry once more, Pharoah and Pusey combined to pass their way through the Yeovil defence in a tiki-taka style on 50 minutes, before Pusey’s eventual shot flew just the wrong side of the crossbar.
However, the threatening Pharoah was quickly involved again on 67 minutes, Panting driving down the left wing and powering a low cross to the far post, where the attacking midfielder slid in and touched home to the delight of the home bench, who were visibly grateful for a much wanted two goal cushion.
High on confidence, Southampton added their third goal eight minutes later, Pharoah repaying the favour with an accurate pass into the feet of Panting, who was expected to cross into the arriving Pusey, but instead used her teammates run as a distraction while she fired a vicious shot from a tight angle into an unsuspecting Howard’s bottom right corner.
Southampton showed an accomplished ability to play short, possession football following their third goal, suffocating a Yeovil side that, at this point, looked down and out despite making all five substitutions.
That being said, Rendell was called upon to make two smart stops late in proceedings, the first a diving save to her right following an Ellie Sargent shot, the second a reflex catch from Amy Goddard’s point-blank header.
Southampton now face a difficult trip to Lewes FC in the fourth round of the competition, but will be spurred on by another quality performance.