Women’s Report: Saints 3-1 London City Lionesses

2023-24/Women's Team/Live Matchday/LCL (H)/A25I8931_tstqgs

Southampton FC Women signed out at St Mary's Stadium with a win over London City Lionesses in their final home game of the Barclays Women's Championship season.

Marieanne Spacey-Cale made just one change to her starting line-up, with Alice Griffiths stepping in for the injured Megan Collett.

Saints' skipper Rosie Parnell made her return from injury to the matchday squad, alongside Chloe Peplow, Rianna Dean, and Emily Kraft as the quartet filled the bench.

Emily Kraft and Rianna Dean were two of four returning players. (Photos: Isabelle Field)

Some fast work from the Saints saw them push for the opening in front of a 3,400+ crowd at Saint Mary's Stadium.

Grace Moloney was forced into making an important save for London City in the ninth minute, as a powerful strike from distance sent in by Atlanta Primus was batted away by the goalkeeper.

Molly Pike was eager to pick up the rebound and teed up Lucia Kendall, who had a shot of her own blocked before it Thompson curled the loose ball just wide.

Minutes later, Saints seized an opportunity to take the lead in the 14th minute, when Ella Morris' precise cross provided Pike with a chance to sweep the ball home.

Jemma Purfield tried for a goal of her own to double the lead with a long-range shot into the arms of Moloney, as London City were quick to launch their counter-attack.

Kayla Rendell, was called into action for the first time, claiming possession of the ball as chaos ensued in the box.

A brilliant piece of play then led to Thompson proving herself once again, as she was there to finish off a chance made by Kendall for her third goal in two games.

Thompson is congratulated after scoring.

Excellent defensive efforts from Milly Mott meant Spacey-Cale's side could not only keep attacking threats at bay, but continue to generate chances of their own to extend their lead.

Morris also showcased her 'body on the line' work ethic to block another London City ball into the box.

Pike came close to an exceptional brace, but her shot found only the crossbar in the 44th minute.

Saints went into the second half with no less pace than they had in the first; spending substantial time battling in the final third, the home side looked the more likely of the teams to find themselves another goal.

Remi Allen's side did find one back in the 72nd minute when a scramble in the box saw Leanne Cowan find the back of the net.

Saints looked to respond again but a near-miss from Pike and another save from Moloney meant that, with the final ten minutes edging closer, the score remained 2-1.

However, in the 83rd minute, substitute Rianna Dean added the third goal for Saints following some good build-up play, as she found herself one-on-one with the goalkeeper and had no problem converting.

The final whistle blew, and the Saints finished their last home game of the season, in front of a record league crowd, triumphant.

The three points put Southampton FC Women in a position to still finish inside the top three, if they can beat Charlton at The Valley on the last day of the season.

Saints: Rendell, Morris, Mott, Rafferty, Purfield, Griffiths, Primus, Kendall (c), Pike (Kraft 80), Lloyd-Smith (Peplow 80), Thompson (Dean 68).

Subs not used: Haaland, Milne, Wynne, Parnell, Surin, Mallon.

Goals: Pike 14,Thompson 25, Dean 83.

London City Lionesses: Moloney, Mukandi, Campbell, Joel (c), Fitzgerald, Carter, Lindström (Satchell 72), Wilde (Neville 46), Littlejohn (Groves 46), Cowan, Boye-Hlorkah

Subs not used: Cull, Alexander, Henson, Jarrett, Farrelly.

Goals: Cowan 71.

Yellow Cards: Mukandi 69.

Attendance: 3,416.