Women's Report: Charlton 1-0 Saints


It was a rare defeat on the road as Southampton FC Women were beaten by Charlton Athletic in the Barclays Women's Championship.

Southampton FC Women returned to action after an extended break due to international call-ups and cup scheduling.

A trip to Charlton Athletic’s The Valley was the first game of March, and with just four points separating the sides, it was bound to be a tightly fought fixture.

A first half goal was the difference as Charlton frustrated Saints in what ended up being a scrappy game.

Sophia Pharoah was left with her heads in her hands less than five minutes in, as Katie Wilkinson drove down the right wing, delivered a driven ball across the box, which Ella Pusey flicked on neatly.

With more space than she probably realised, the Saints number 12 could only send her shot spinning high over the bar.

Saints were made to pay for that early missed chance almost immediately as Charlton found themselves up the other end.

Some uncharacteristically slow reactions at the back saw Beth Rowe able to jinx her way towards the goal line, slotting low and hard into the back of the net in the 6th minute.

Neither side were able to get a real hold on the game as the half wore on.

The next glimpse of opportunity came in the 25th minute as Saints piled on the pressure following a corner.

Scrappy play in the box saw the teal Southampton side power shot after shot goalward, only to be brought to a halt by the referee’s whistle for a head injury.

Ella Morris’ pace was causing the most issues for the Addicks down the right-hand side, with a number of half-chances being enjoyed following a run and cross from the Saints winger, but none coming to real fruition.

It was Charlton with the last chance of the first half as Melissa Johnson raced forward onto a ball over the top and into the box, but a recovering Collett did enough to deny the chance.

An even game in the first period, with only some clinicality in front of goal separating the two teams.

Saints fashioned themselves a chance early in the second period after some dogged play in the Charlton half. Morris once again found space where there looked to be none, slotting a ball towards the back post, which Pusey was agonisingly close to connecting to.

Despite the opening chance, Marieanne Spacey-Cale decided to freshen up the trailing Saints in the 56th minute, as Milly Mott and Beth Lumsden replaced Collett and Pusey.

Lumsden was nearly involved in the action straight away, as a well-worked move up the line saw the number 10 send her player the wrong way and deliver a nicely placed ball into the box, which Charlton were just about able to clear.

As the game began to stagnate, the Saints contingent made two more changes with Leeta Rutherford replacing Rafferty, and Megan Wynne taking Sophia Pharoah’s place against her old club.

Lumsden was involved again as the clock hit the 80th minute, as a flicked ball forward was nearly chased down; Sian Rogers in the Charlton goal doing well to come out and smother.

Saints were doing everything to secure the equaliser, pushing higher and higher up the pitch. Rutherford had a half chance to draw things level as she sent a shot spinning goalward in the 85th minute, but again, it was not enough to beat Rogers.

A final change for the Saints saw Alice Griffiths replace Kendall in the midfield in the 88th minute. The Welsh international had an instantaneous impact, playing in Lumsden who turned her player, winning a free kick just outside the box.

That final chance of the game was entrusted to Wilkinson who stepped up to take the dead ball, sending her shot over the crossbar.

One to forget for Saints, who never really got going, allowing Charlton to do the double.

With three home games back to back on the horizon, they'll be looking to bounce back straight away.