Southampton FC Women stepped up their Vitality Women's FA Cup preparations with a 5-2 friendly win at Buckland Athletic on Sunday.
The weekend’s match was an opportunity for Marieanne Spacey-Cale to give some minutes to other members of the squad as the likes of keeper Sara Luce, Jess Tanner, Emilie Castagna and Laura Da Silva all started at Homers Heath.
Following an even opening 20 minutes the first goal of the game came for the hosts, a long ball up field bought down by Natasha Knapman who lobbed Luce to give Buckland the lead.
Saints’ National League South West counterparts proceeded to frustrate them for the remainder of the first half, as they took their slender advantage into the break.
Buckland continued to hold off their visitors for the opening minutes of the second half, before an equaliser finally came on the 52nd minute mark.
Lucia Kendall’s shot inside the box was well blocked, leading to the ball looping over to Ellie Chaffe who acrobatically volleyed past keeper Abigail Bond to level the scores.
However Saints weren’t level for long; Carmen Morison’s deep free-kick just four minutes later finding the head of half-time substitute Natalie Warman at the back post, who made no mistake as Buckland retook the lead.
The game then began to open up as Saints clearly showed their frustration at going behind so soon after levelling the scores.
Luckily for Spacey-Cale’s side they only had to wait six minutes for their second equaliser of the game, Castagna fighting off two defenders before rounding the keeper and making it 2-2.
Then came the Saints onslaught, starting in the 77th minute as the visitors took the lead for the first time in the afternoon.
Shannon Sievwright’s long ball forward was helped on by Castagna into the path of Chloe Gilroy who, under pressure, managed to chip Bond and find the far corner with another acrobatic finish.
Another six minutes later and Saints had opened up a two-goal lead, capitalising on Buckland failing to clear on two occasions Kendall bundled home to make it 4-2 on her second attempt with a goal that warranted her involvement during the afternoon.
With three minutes to go the result was put beyond all doubt; Kendall again involved with a low drive cleared off the line, but only cleared into the path of Gilroy who notched her second.
Another win as the work continued towards Saints’ meeting with Super League side Birmingham City on Sunday 16th.
Saints are next in action at Championship winners Leicester City on Sunday 9th May.
Buckland starting XI: Bond; Staddon; Woods (Morison 45'); Butt; M.Warman (N.Warman 45'); Burridge; Stacey; Cunningham; Knapman (Meyer 45' then Woods 83'); Hugh (M.Warman 74'); Gauvain
Buckland subs: Smith; N.Warman; Meyer; Morison
Saints Starting XI: Luce; E.Morris (Evans 70'); Parnell; Sievwright; Kendall; Cleeve (Williams 58'); Tanner (Fripp 58'); Castagna (Eastham 83'); Mott (Gilroy 70'); Chaffe (Ware 70'); Da Silva (Freeland 70')
Saints subs: Rendell; Fripp; Freeland; Williams; Ware; Evans; Eastham; Gilroy