Women's Report: Saints extend league lead


A fantastic first-half display saw Saints cruise into a 4-0 lead, courtesy of goals from Lucia Kendall, Ella Morris, Ella Pusey and Ciara Watling.

Despite Henna Butcher‘s goal in the 59th minute, Saints would increase their tally to nine for the evening; Pusey, Watling and Morris all grabbing braces, while Shannon Sievwright and Alice Griffiths also added their names to the scoresheet.

On their home artificial pitch at the AJN Stadium, Keynsham went mighty close before even a minute was registered, Butcher firing her right-footed effort from range just wide of Kayla Rendell’s right post. A sign of early intent from the hosts.

However, Southampton were quick to awaken and grow into the tie. In fact, it took just three minutes for Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s side to find the lead, Kendall shooting from a similar distance to Butcher before her, but with an even higher degree of accuracy, her shot dipping viciously over Bell and into her net.

Leaving Saints’ travelling support breathless, Morris wasted no time in grabbing number two, appearing at the far post to knock home Alisha Ware’s floated cross from the left on six minutes.

With Keynsham stunned, Saints continued to show a ruthlessness in their attacking play, Watling would be the next to go one-on-one with Bell, but the goalkeeper this time got down well to smother the attempt.

Number three wouldn’t be far away, however, serial goal scorer Pusey on hand to poke home from close range following Kendall’s blocked blast on 21 minutes. Three goals, surely three points.

Certainly in the mood after her first, Pusey appeared to have grabbed her brace five minutes later, but this time the number nine found her celebration disrupted by the offside flag.

Going into the latter stages of the first 45, the game began to simmer a little, Keynsham showing more composure on the ball, but no real sign of threatening Saints’ now commanding advantage.

That being said, Watling would find time to add her name to the scoresheet before the halftime whistle, her bobbling effort from range evading the gloves of Bell and nestling into her left corner with five minutes remaining.

Halftime provided a small period of respite for Keynsham fans, and indeed their team, but three minutes into the second period that would come to a crashing end.

Morris showed some fine composure to drive forward with the ball toward the halfway line, but her launched through-ball arched right, away from the run of intended target Pusey. Her disappointment would soon turn to delight though, as the attempted pass bounced awkwardly over Bell and into her vacant net. A goal that perfectly summed up Keynsham’s evening thus far.

Undeniably down and out, the home side, to their credit, showed character to grab a goal back trough the blasted effort of Butcher on 59 minutes, who from considerable range powered her right-footed effort into the roof of Rendell’s net, making the score 5-1.

Using their first goal as a platform for improvement, Keynsham did well to starve Saints of chances for the ten minutes that followed, but the rampant visitors couldn’t supress their appetite for further goals.

Pusey would eventually get her brace, sneaking in at the far post to lift the ball home beyond the diving goalkeeper.

Three minutes later, on 75 minutes, and it would be seven. Shannon Sievwright, who had enjoyed an excellent game, stepping up to power home a free-kick from just outside the box with her left-foot. Trademark.

Southampton previously recorded a stunning 9-0 victory over Keynsham in the reverse league fixture at Snows Stadium, and, with the way they were playing, they would possibly reach that number again.

Despite the seven goals thus far, perhaps the biggest applause was for Alice Griffiths, who in the 78th minute made her return from injury, replacing goal scorer Sievwright in midfield.

Eager to make an impact, the defensive midfielder wasted no time in lifting the substantial away support to their feet, sneaking in amid a cluster of Keynsham bodies to nod home a loose ball on the goal line, following a corner.

Southampton’s ninth and final goal of the evening would come courtesy of Watling once again, the attacker showing fine composure to beat Bell with a low finish into her bottom right corner from inside the box.

A truly stunning performance and one which will massively increase Southampton’s confidence ahead of Plymouth on Sunday.