Women's Report: Coventry United 0-4 Saints

Southampton FC Women romped to a 4-0 win at the Butts Park Arena courtesy of four different goalscorers in what was an almost perfect second half.

Katie Wilkinson opened the scoring from the spot early in the second half, before Ella Pusey slotted the second home. Sophia Pharoah's drive and shot provided Saints with a three goal buffer before Beth Lumsden scored a goal of the season contender with an audacious flick. 

Saints made their intentions clear within five minutes as some neat play down the right-hand side saw Ella Pusey with space to drive. Her ball to Sophia Pharoah was well-controlled but her shot flew over the bar.

Coventry United grew into the game as the game ticked past the tenth minute, managing to play around the Saints high press on a few occasions but unable to break down the side defensively.

It was Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s side with the first real sight of an opener as Alice Griffiths showed strength and skill to power through her player and slam a shot onto the crossbar from outside the 18-yard box.

Another ten passed with little to no action for either keeper, with the middle of the park seeing the majority of the ball.

Despite the lack of goalmouth action, it was Saints who looked more composed on the ball, with debutant Beth Howard looking assured when providing the extra option at the back.

Pusey nearly provided the perfect through ball on the half hour mark, leaving Coventry United’s back line with work to do. However, Katie Wilkinson and Ella Morris were each other’s downfall as miscommunication saw the ball hacked to safety.

It was Pharoah with a chance almost identical to her first as she once again found herself with the ball at her feet inside the area. With a bit of time, she once again fired goalward, this time forcing Eleanor Heeps into a fingertips save.

Saints were unlucky not to be in front just before the break, as a corner delivery saw Wilkinson with time at the back post, however, the top-goalscorer could only send her header over the bar.

Saints were able to break the deadlock not long into the second half, as Wilkinson was brought down in the box by the Coventry United keeper, the referee pointing straight to the spot.

Wilkinson stepped up to the spot, dispatching her shot low and hard into the bottom corner to give Saints the lead.

It didn’t take long for the second, either.

Wilkinson’s strike partner Pusey was fed through into the box by Griffiths, and despite pressure, was able to slot past Heeps to double the deficit and put Saints in the driving seat.

With the two-goal buffer, Saints began to play with more freedom, and it wasn’t long before that confidence paid off.

The ball was farmed forward down the right wing, before Pharoah was able take charge and drive into the box. She shot low and hard across the keeper, and taking a nick off Jodie Bartle, the ball nestled in the far corner to make it three.

Marieanne Spacey-Cale made her first changes of the game in the attacking sphere, as Beth Lumsden and Lexi Lloyd-Smith entered the fray in the place of Katie Wilkinson and Ella Pusey.

Saints had found their rhythm and it was less than two minutes later that they were able to make it four. Morris sent a ball across the box, and substitute Beth Lumsden provided a peach of a goal, sliding the ball behind her standing foot and past the goalkeeper to secure Saints' fourth of the game.

More changes ensued, as Georgie Freeland, Megan Wynne and Phoebe Williams replaced Sophia Pharoah, Alice Griffiths and Megan Collett; Williams making her 100th appearance for the club and being passed the captain's armband by Rosie Parnell.

A solid second half performance for Saints securing all three points and their biggest win of the season. They now look ahead to their final game of the Barclays Women's Championship as they welcome Sheffield United to St Mary's Stadium.

Coventry: Eleanor Heeps, Megan Alexander, Jodie Bartle (c), Hayley Hoare, Fran Orthodoxou, Simran Jhamat, Rachel Newborough, Olivia Rabjohn, Izzie Goodwin, Connie Scofield, Mollie Green.
Unused subs: Freya Thomas, Ellie Butler, Ellen Jones, Katie Morris, Merrick Will, Mia Smith.

Southampton: Beth Howard, Ella Morris, Milly Mott, Lucia Kendall, Rosie Parnell (c), Ella Pusey (Beth Lumsden 79), Sophia Pharoah, Alice Griffiths, Katie Wilkinson (Lexi Lloyd-Smith 79), Megan Collett, Paige Peake.
Unused subs: Laura Rafferty, Georgie Freeland, Phoebe Williams, Megan Wynne, Ashleigh Ward, Chloe Peplow.
Goals: Pusey, Pharoah, Wilkinson, Lumsden.