Women's Report: High flying Saints hit nine


An Ella Pusey hat-trick helped Southampton extend their unbeaten league run to seven, cruising past visitors Keynsham Town 9-0 at Snows Stadium

Laura Rafferty opened the scoring for Saints with a towering header after just three minutes, before Phoebe Williams doubled the advantage with a wonder strike on 27 minutes.

The second half proved to be even more impressive, as further strikes from Rafferty, Milly Mott, Lucia Kendall and Sophia Pharoah accompanied an Ella Pusey hattrick to ensure Saints rolled out comfortable victors.

Despite the atrocious weather conditions, Southampton made a bright start to proceedings, dominating possession from the outset as Keynsham frantically tried to sustain a decent level of pressure on the ball.

With that in mind, it didn’t take long for Saints to find the opener, an accurate corner, typical of Shannon Sievwright, swung straight onto the head of Rafferty who guided her effort firmly past the flailing Charly-May Friend on three minutes.

After going behind so early, Keynsham struggled to regain their confidence and quickly found their backline breached again, Lucia Kendall breaking through and squaring a low ball into the arriving Pusey, but the striker couldn’t stretch her leg far enough to divert the cross home.

With the hosts perhaps becoming a little too comfortable, Keynsham did create a chance of their own on 24 minutes, a long ball from defence giving Henna Butcher a reason to chase, as the attacker eventually cut in and fired a right footed effort on goal which Kayla Rendell did well to touch over the bar.

However, Saints quickly retook their commanding position, showcasing some nice, intricate passing play before working the ball into Williams, who, from outside the box, bent a stunning effort into the top right corner which kissed the bar on its way in after 27 minutes. One which will certainly be remembered.

Despite a barrage of pressure, Saints would be made to settle for just the two-goal advantage going into the break, but emerged with a hunger for more goals in the second period.

Pusey, Mott and Rafferty were all quick to threaten the Keynsham net, but the visitors somehow managed to keep the deficit to two, a goal-line clearance, the post and the offside flag all playing their part.

Rafferty wouldn’t be denied for a second time though, as the centre-back progressed from her usual position to support her counter-attacking teammates on the right wing, eventually picking up the ball and driving down the line before firing a ferocious effort into the far corner which left Friend stunned eight minutes after the restart.

Ten minutes later and Saints would grab their fourth, Pusey, who up until this point had experienced a slightly frustrating afternoon by her standards, latching onto Caitlin Morris’s long ball from deep before cutting in onto her left foot and curling a precise effort into the far corner via the post. A goal which confirms her status as Southampton’s all-time top scorer (61 goals in 61 games).

By this point, Keynsham’s main priority was to keep the score down, but that was something easier said than done, with Southampton launching relentless waves of attacks.

Mott was the next to add her name to the scoresheet, picking up Williams’s through ball before cutting in on her left and reversing a cool effort back toward the near post as the clock ticked 68.

Spurred on by her first, a revitalised Pusey would soon get her second, Williams again the provider as the number nine spun and finished potently from a central position in the box on 78 minutes.

Following this came two excellent headers to increase the lead to eight, the first a bullet effort from Kendall to turn home Pharoah’s whipped cross from the right on 84 minutes, before Pharoah herself met Shelly Provan’s arching ball from the left two minutes later, planting her header low into the far corner.

Concluding proceedings in style, the ever-dangerous Pusey was there to grab her hattrick and Saints’ ninth of the afternoon in the final minute, taking down C. Morris’s launched ball, in similar fashion to her first, before finishing calmly past a drained Friend to ensure Saints went seven from seven.