Southampton FC Women continue to impress and completely out-classed visitors Gillingham, who were heavily beaten 9-0 at the Snows Stadium.
Maintaining their perfect start to the season, the hosts were 4-0 up at the break, courtesy of George Freeland's brace and further strikes from Ella Morris and Ella Pusey.
Maintaining their ruthless streak following the restart, Pusey grabbed a further two to complete her hat-trick, with a second from Morris and additional efforts from Sophia Pharoah and Ciara Watling recording a resounding victory for Marieanne Spacey-Cale's side.
Gillingham came flying out the blocks and started the game well, Courtney Cook finding some joy down Southampton’s right and firing a warning shot over Kayla Rendell’s crossbar after two minutes.
However, after weathering the early storm well, the hosts recovered swiftly and almost took the lead through Freeland, the winger using her speed to chase down Rendell’s long ball and loft a delicate effort agonisingly wide of Davies’ far post.
Saints weren’t made to wait much longer for the breakthrough though, as Freeland found the ball fall to her feet once more following Pusey’s blocked effort, before lofting a precise, left-footed effort into the far corner of Davies’ net which kissed the crossbar on its way home after 16 minutes – similar to her first attempt 10 minutes earlier.
Five minutes later and the lead was doubled, an on-fire Freeland again breaking away and firing a right footed effort into the body of Davies, but Ella Morris was there to follow in and guide the uncontested ball into the corner of an unguarded Gillingham net.
Perhaps easing off the gas a little, Saints found themselves defensively occupied in the closing stages of the first half, but two excellent saves from Rendell, to deny Georgia Pearch and Cook respectively, ensured the lead was preserved.
Marieanne Spacey-Cale undoubtedly would have been pleased with a two-goal advantage going into the break, but in reality it was four; Freeland again following in on Shelly Provan’s smashed effort to tap home for three on 41 minutes, before an outstanding Pusey run and curling finish from distance two minutes later ensured Saints went into the interval in a position of complete comfort.
Emerging from the break, Gillingham understandably looked deflated and the fans in the stadium were left debating by how much the lead would be extended.
It took just three minutes for the hosts to make it five, Pusey making good progress down the left before firing a low ball into the feet of Pharaoh, who, from a central position in the box, controlled well and swept her low effort under the body of a diving Davies.
With Southampton at this point launching wave upon wave of attacks, it was only a matter of time before Gillingham collapsed again, and a handball in the area by Vicky Ashton-Jones provided the perfect opportunity for Pusey to grab her second, which she did calmly, stroking home the resulting penalty straight down the throat of Davies’ goal on 68 minutes.
One player who had been arguably faultless all game was left-back Provan, and her commanding performance would have been topped off with a goal, if it wasn’t for a spectacular fingertip save from Davies to turn her powerful effort from range onto the bar after 71 minutes.
However, from the resulting corner Provan turned provider, an excellent curling ball into the box off of her left foot allowing Pusey to intelligently flick her header backwards and into the corner for her much-deserved hat-trick.
A short break in the rout allowed a second appearance for New Zealand international Katie Rood, who made her debut against Chichester & Selsey this week after signing from Lewes FC.
Understandably low on confidence, Southampton’s eighth goal resulted from a terrible goalkeeping error in which Davies completely misread Ella Morris’ launched ball and fumbled into her own net on 80 minutes.
Substitute Phoebe Williams was the next to close in on goal, but the midfielder, who had been excellent since her halftime introduction, could only turn Morris’ cross onto the post after 83 minutes.
One minute later though and Saints were celebrating for a ninth time and final time, Ciara Watling following in on a driven cross from the left and poking home.
It was another brilliant performance from a Saints side that have now gone four from four in the league, with Southampton’s next challenge coming in the form of Hounslow.