Women's Report: Saints continue pre-season success


Southampton FC Women continued their preparations for the 2021/22 season with a 1-0 victory over Championship outfit Lewes FC.

Rosie Parnell’s goal was the difference at Snows Stadium, as Saints continue to impress as they prepare for their maiden campaign in National League Southern Premier.

Saints were awarded a free-kick early on, but Shelly Provan’s ball in from the half-way line failed to meet any of her teammates in the penalty area.

After an end-to-end opening ten minutes, Lewes were presented with a tantalising opportunity with Georgia Timms being released with a fantastic long ball into the box.

In a period of sustained pressure for Saints, Laura Rafferty chased Timms down on the wing. While being able to divert the threat of the oncoming Lewes charge, Rafferty deflected the ball behind for a corner.

With 15 minutes played Alisha Ware showed some exceptional skill on the wing as Saints hit the counter.

Shortly after, Lewes were awarded a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the penalty area but the Saints wall did its job and the threat was cleared.

It was then the turn of Ella Pusey to show her prowess from the set-piece, whipping in a lovely ball from the corner. Caitlin Morris’ header edged just wide.

It was all square as the half-time whistle was blown, with both sides having a couple of clear cut opportunities towards goal.

Saints’ best opportunity of the first half came from a Shelly Provan throw-in, finding Sophia Pharoah in space on the half-way line, Pharoah then released Georgie Freeland on the charge but she couldn’t quite consolidate the move.

The start of the second-half came with a change of goalkeepers for the visitors, while Rachel Panting and Phoebe Williams entered the field of play for Saints.

It didn’t take long for Lewes to mount the pressure on Saints, with the ball bouncing just wide of Rendell’s post within moments of the action starting.

Saints retaliated quickly, though, with Shannon Sievwright also having her shot bounce just wide of the Lewes goal.

As Lewes piled on the pressure, both Laura Rafferty and Ella Morris were forced to make crucial blocks to deny the visitors.

Marianne Spacey-Cale made another couple of changes as the clock ticked over the hour mark, this time it was Rosie Parnell and Sara Luce's chance to make an impact on the game.

Shortly after coming on, Parnell opened the scoring at Snows Stadium. Shannon Sievwright’s cross in from the corner fell perfectly as Saints took the lead.

Just moments later Saints were presented with another fantastic opportunity, this time the corner fell to the head of Rafferty but she couldn’t quite get the ball under control to double Saints’ lead.

The goal sparked a new ignition in the Lewes team, with them looking increasingly dangerous in front of goal.

An onslaught of attacks from the visitors ensued but Saints stood strong to maintain their one goal advantage.

There was a last gasp effort from Lewes, who kept pressing until the very end but Rendell again provided the goods as she collected the ball in the box.

It was a gutsy performance from Saints, who continued to chase down the ball at every opportunity as the clock wound down.