Women's Report: Saints book final spot


A second half surge helped Southampton FC Women on their way to the National League Cup final with a 2-0 win over Crawley Wasps.

After plenty of chances the Saints breakthrough finally came on 54 minutes, Katie Rood powering the ball past the Crawley keeper.

Rood turned provider for Saints’ second of the afternoon, feeding Alisha Ware who marked her return to the side with a goal on 75 minutes.

Saints made six changes to the side which suffered shootout heartache at Ipswich last weekend; Ella Morris, Phoebe Williams, Shannon Sievwright, Ware, Katie Rood and Ciara Watling all coming in.

Crawley also made switches, as trio Immy Lancaster, Rachel Palmer and Ellie Russell all returned to the line-up.

After a tightly contested opening ten minutes Alisha Ware had the game’s first chance, the ball falling to her in behind the backline but her early shot trickling just wide.

Next to try their luck was Williams, who found the ball at her feet inside the penalty area after a lovely Saints move. Her first-time effort clearing the crossbar on 20 minutes.

Saints came closer once more minutes later, Sievwright and Shelly Provan combining before the latter produced a superb cross into the penalty area. Crawley scrambling to get it clear.

A left-sided corner then offered the hosts another opportunity to take the lead; Laura Rafferty tapping it goalwards at the far post but saw her effort go just wide.

Freeland, who had been the provider for most of the game down that right flank, looked to take matters into her own hands on 38 minutes.

A strike from range aimed for the far top corner but skimming the crossbar on its way over.

Into the second half and Saints pressure persisted, Crawley having to rely only on their counterattack as the hosts pressed them back.

Finally the breakthrough came on 54 minutes, the ball falling to Rood inside the box, who took a touch and blasted the ball into the roof of the net over keeper Jaqui Goldsmid.

Despite the opener it was actually Crawley who had the better of the game following Rood’s goal.

Rendell was called into action two minutes later with a low save to deny Iesha Swaby, before Lancaster’s long-range effort rattled the crossbar.

The complexion of the game seemed to change completely despite the scoreline; Crawley enjoying a lot more possession and pressing Saints for an equaliser at Snows Stadium.

But despite the pressure it was the hosts who proved more clinical. Rood producing a superb through ball into the path of Ware, who made no mistake one-on-one.

That second goal killed any chance of a Crawley fightback, with Saints professionally seeing out the final minutes as that final spot came into touching distance.

Subsstiute Pusey showed signs of adding a third with her intent after coming on, whilst Rafferty tried her luck from range.

But the scoreline stayed at 2-0, with Saints into the League Cup final.

Attentions, for now, turn back to National league Southern Premier, with a trip to league leaders Oxford United on Wednesday night.