Report: Saints 4-0 Cheltenham

By SFC Media Sun 22 Sep Womens Team
Photo by Isabelle Field

Southampton FC Women comprehensively beat their closest challengers at the top of FA National League (south west) at AFC Totton's Snows Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

A first-half flurry of goals from Shannon Sievwright, Ella Pusey and Kirsty Whitton put daylight between Saints and a spirited Cheltenham Town side, who started the weekend in second place. Rachel Panting then added a fourth late on.

Spacey-Cale had handed a rare start to Shannon Albuery and the winger almost made an instant impression, coming close with two strikes in the opening exchanges.

The visiting Robins were providing resistance, though, and should have taken the lead following a defensive mix-up. Fortunately for Saints, Ella Hitchcox was unable to bundle the ball home from close range.

The let-off served to rally the home side who, up until that point, had struggled to break down Cheltenham's well-drilled defence.

Saints started to find joy down the flanks, with Pusey and Freeland both coming close to getting on the end of crosses from wide.

Ella Pusey fights for possession against Cheltenham (photo: Isabelle Field)

Saints' sustained pressure paid off as Cheltenham failed to deal with another cross that, this time, fell kindly for midfielder Sievwright. The skipper showed a cool head to pick her spot and calmly place a shot past Levett.

 

The lead was doubled minutes later with a special strike from Pusey. She was the beneficiary of some brilliant hold-up play from Freeland, who laid the ball on to the striker. Pusey then took aim from distance, beating the keeper with a powerful 30-yard drive.

 

The momentum was with the hosts and they extended the lead shortly before the break. A Sievwright cross from the right was only cleared as far as Whitton, who finished with aplomb from outside the box.

 

Saints continued to assert their dominance after the break and should have had a fourth when the lively Albuery found herself clean on goal. Credit to Levett, the onrushing keeper did well to smother the shot.

Saints put the Cheltenham defence under pressure (photo: Isabelle Field)

Albuery was to come even closer to the goal her performance deserved when she was found unmarked at the back post, but she cannoned her shot against the bar from yards out.

 

The hosts did have the ball in the net soon after, when Tiffany Taylor turned in a low cross, but the centre-back had wandered into an offside position.

 

Panting was brought off the bench with Saints looking for more goals, and she should have done better after racing on to a Phoebe Williams through ball. Having been kept out by Levett, Panting then placed the follow-up just wide of the post. 

 

With minutes to go, the substitute then manage to get on the scoresheet. Chloe Gilroy did well to get to the by-line and pull a cross back, which Panting placed emphatically past Levett to complete the 4-0 rout. 

Saints continue their campaign at home against Larkhall Athletic next Sunday, 29th September.

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