Southampton FC Women fell to a 1-0 defeat against league leaders Bristol City in what was an improved performance on recent displays, a Ffion Morgan goal the difference.
Saints almost had the dream start as Ella Morris used her strength to dispossess her player and drive forward, delivering a tantalising ball across the face of goal. Despite no one managing to get onto the cross, Ella Pusey did well to recycle the ball to Alice Griffiths, who saw her powerful shot fly just over the crossbar.
Bristol City showed why they’ve been able to score 29 goals so far this season, as a through ball was threaded to Shania Hayles inside the box. Kayla Rendell did well to shut down the angle and deny from close range.
There was nothing to be done about the next City effort, as Ffion Morgan’s volleyed shot from range, dropped in off the crossbar, hitting the back of the net - disappointing after such a bright start.
Milly Mott stunned fans with some individual brilliance shortly after, darting up the pitch from defence towards the box, before the final ball got away from her.
She did the same again minutes later, this time unleashing Beth Lumsden down the left hand side. The forward did well to turn her player and get the shot off, but it was comfortably held by Fran Bentley in the City goal.
Bentley was all but beaten in the 39th minute, as Pusey latched onto a poor backpass, rounded the keeper, but could only send her shot spinning high of the target.
Despite the chances Saints were creating, they had to be alert to the danger that the Robins posed going forward. Bristol City were left with their heads in their hands just before half time as Laura Rafferty did enough to clear off the line, keeping the deficit to one.
Rendell was called into action early in the second half as the Robins broke into the Saints half and were able to get a long-range shot off. The no.1 did well to push the effort over the bar with a fingertips save.
Lumsden was next with a chance up the other end in the 53rd minute, as a neat through ball saw the forward rush through on goal. Her decision to cut back past the recovering defender proved costly, as the City back line blocked.
It was Lumsden again with the opportunity just minutes later, as Morris did exceptionally well to outpace her player on the wing and send a ball skimming across the box towards Lucia Kendall. The ball bobbled in the box, before Lumsden sent her shot goalward, only to see Bentley tip it over the crossbar.
As the clock ticked into the 60th minute, Saints continued to look the more likely of the teams, piling on pressure high up the pitch.
A first change for Saints saw Katie Wilkinson replace Ella Pusey in attack, and despite being known for her attacking qualities, she did well to block Abi Harrison’s ferocious effort on goal almost straight from her introduction in the 74th minute.
The no.20 was straight up the other end, and almost found the equaliser as she took the ball past Bentley, but was unable to get her sliding effort on target.
Lexi Lloyd-Smith was the next introduction for Saints, replacing Rafferty and creating a more attacking formation going into the final ten minutes.
Saints kept up the pressure, with the St Mary's crowd urging them on for the equaliser, Kendall seeing an effort blocked before Wilkinson hit the post in injury time.
Despite an improved performance, Marieanne Spacey-Cale's side fell to another defeat at St Mary's, with Bristol City taking all three points from a tightly contested encounter.