Goals from Alisha Ware, Sophia Pharoah and a long-range Georgie Freeland strike sealed an important 3-0 victory at Crawley Wasps for Southampton FC Women.
After an evenly contested first half Saints went in ahead with a goal five minutes from the break, Ware tapping home at the back post as the Crawley keeper could only help Milly Mott’s cross onto the bar.
The second came on 77 minutes, Pharoah tapping home from close range before Freeland hit the goal of the game into the top corner five minutes later.
Saints made one change from the side who beat Gillingham on Sunday, Ella Morris dropping out for Shelly Provan at full back.
The Crawley line-up was a familiar one, the striking duo of Tash Stephens and Iesha Swaby starting up top looking to continue their recent form.
It was a competitive opening ten minutes, both sides showing intent and looking to assert their dominance on a cold evening in Horley.
The first sight of goal came after 12 minutes, Crawley’s Swaby meeting a left-sided set piece with a header that proved easy pickings for Kayla Rendell.
A sighter such as this became a rarity for the remainder of the first 30; Lucia Kendall looking to continue her goalscoring run with a first-time effort that flew just over on 28 minutes.
Saints enjoyed a lot of joy from their flanks, an area where they found the breakthrough on 40 minutes.
A long goalkick from Rendell was superbly touched down by Sophia Pharoah, who fed Mott down the left flank.
The full-back produced a terrific cross which Jaqui Goldsmid could only touch onto the ball, leaving Ware to tap home the rebound.
Into the second and it was an equally even affair.
A confident Ware took down the ball just outside the penalty area on 54 minutes, before letting fly and narrowly clearing the crossbar.
The next strike came from an unlikely source just over ten minutes later, as Mott hit towards goal before narrowly hitting the side netting.
Crawley still posed a threat the longer the game stayed 1-0, pushing Saints back and looking for their target Swaby with every attack.
A much needed and much strived second came on 77 minutes.
Phoebe Williams’ long-range strike looked to be headed in after a mix-up between Crawley keeper and defender, before the ball fell to Pharoah who tapped home at the far post.
It only took five more minutes for Saints to add a third, Freeland with a superb strike from the range which nestled into the top corner.
Substitute Ella Pusey almost added a fourth in stoppage time, but her fierce strike rattled the near post.
That Freeland strike cemented a thoroughly professional three points for Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s side, who travel to promotion rivals Ipswich Town on Sunday.