Women's Report: Saints complete unbeaten pre-season


Southampton FC Women finished off their preseason positively with a 2-2 draw against visitors London City Lionesses, increasing confidence ahead of their opening National League Southern Premier fixture next Sunday.

Saints opened the scoring on 24 minutes, Lucia Kendell finding the corner with a precise finish over the head of Shae Yanez.

After the break, City responded positively and went 2-1 up courtesy of quick-fire goals from Amy Rodgers and Jamie Lee-Napier.

With eight minutes to play, the hosts showed excellent spirit to equalise, Sophia Pharoah’s superb chip ensuring the spoils were shared.

The first 15 minutes saw both teams trying to exert their presence on the game, with Southampton being made to work hard for possession.

The first chance fell to the visitors after 17 minutes, a well worked free-kick making its way back to the waiting Rodgers, whose shot from outside the area flew just wide of Kayla Rendell’s left post.

However, seven minutes later it was  who broke the deadlock, an under-hit back pass in the City defence allowing Kendell to break through and lift a delicate shot into the far corner, leaving Yanez helpless.

Eager to respond before the break, Brooke Nunn made good progress down the left side, but her eventual shot from a tight angle didn’t worry Rendell, who watched it sail over her crossbar.

Southampton almost doubled their lead moments before half-time, and in the most improbable manner, with Sievwright smashing the post directly from a corner.

Both teams opted for several changes at the break, making for a second period of football that was entirely different to the first.

Within five minutes of the restart Rendell was called into action three times for the Saints, brilliantly saving the efforts of Annie-Lee Rossiter, Riana Jaret and Napier to preserve the one goal advantage.

However, rejuvenated by the addition of fresh legged substitutes, the visitors did find the equaliser on 52 minutes, Rodgers’ driven effort from the right side of the box squirming unfortunately under the body of Rendell.

The visitors went on to add a second nine minutes later, Napier squeezing her effort past an outrushing Rendell from close range, following excellent hold-up play from fellow attacker Grace Neville.

Perhaps the unluckiest player on the pitch, Sievwright almost responded for the hosts on 73 minutes, but the midfielder's exceptional strike from more than 35 yards cannoned off the woodwork for a second time in the game.

With 10 minutes to go City looked to add a third, but Saints found their previous misfortunes repaid, as Napier’s strike was also turned away by the post.

Looking to kill the final minutes, City were keen to keep possession in their own half, but excellent Saints pressure forced another mistake within their defensive ranks, this time allowing substitute Sophia Pharoah to go through one-on-one and weight her chip perfectly over the head of Yanez and into the empty net on 82 minutes.

Looking forward, Southampton fans and players alike will be excited for next Sunday, when Spacey-Cale's side contest their first National League Southern Premier fixture at home to MK Dons.