Women's Report: Saints two from two

By Rob Bird time Sun 22 Aug Plymouth Argyle vs Saints
Photo by Kirsty Bates | Ciara Watling
Sun 22 Aug 2.30PM
FA Womens National League Southern Premier
Plymouth Argyle
0
Southampton
3
goal
Rutherford [32'] [39'] Watling [77']
yellow card
Watling (66')
Referee: Ryan Corneuus | Venue: Manadon Football Development Centre | Attendance: 151

Southampton FC Women breeze to consecutive league victories, comfortably beating Plymouth Argyle 3-0 away from home

Two towering headers from defender Leeta Rutherford put Southampton in a commanding first half position, the first a flicked effort from captain Shannon Sievwright’s deep ball on 32 minutes, while the second was powered home from close range, courtesy of another pinpoint cross from the skipper seven minutes later.

The third goal was added late into the second half, striker Ciara Watling calmly slotting home substitute Georgie Freeland’s low cross at the far post on 77 minutes.

Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s team showed intent from the early stages, fullback Ella Morris bombing down the right and delivering a low cross which was eventually fired over by the arriving Shelley Provan on nine minutes. Warning signs, nonetheless.

Considering the visitors’ bright start, Plymouth did well to soak up the pressure and recover, Rebecca McMullin in particular using her pace to good effect to counter Ella Pusey’s raw speed in attack.

20210822 Plymouth Argyle v Southampton Women Leeta Rutherford headers in her goal.
Leeta Rutherford scores her first goal for the club.

That being said, there was nothing the hosts could do about Rutherford’s towering header which put Saints ahead after 32 minutes, the defender outmuscling her opponent and rising highest to nod home Sievwright’s accurate lofted ball at the far post, following a short-corner routine.

With the wind in their sails, Southampton doubled their advantage seven minutes later, and with a bout of deja vu, Rutherford once more heading home a whipped Sievwight cross, this time directly from a corner, that proved just too precise and too dangerous for the Plymouth defence to handle.

The Pilgrims will be disappointed not to have halved the deficit moments before halftime, Zoe Cunningham’s corner evading all but Natasha Knapman at the far post, who remarkably managed to guide the ball wide from just a few yards out.

Understandably, it was Plymouth who started the second period brighter, a short-corner routine allowing Imogen Crawford to strike from range and smash Kayla Rendell’s right post on 53 minutes.

20210822 Plymouth Argyle v Southampton Women Laura Rafferty blocks a shot.
Laura Rafferty puts a block in.

The fresh legs of second half substitute Freeland proved an effective addition for the reds, the winger’s darting runs allowing opportunities for the likes of Sievwright and Phoebe Williams to feed through balls in between Plymouth’s central defenders, one of which would have seen Freeland clean through if it wasn’t for a blatant shirt-pull from Tracey Clark.

Unsurprisingly, it was the number 7 who popped up to create Southampton’s third, Freeland using her speed to progress down the right before firing a low cross into the waiting Watling, who showed composure to place her left-footed effort past Poppy Soper at the far post on 77 minutes.

In search of a late consolation goal, Plymouth’s Knapman did well to drive and create an opening down Southampton’s right, but her eventual effort was confidently beaten away by the hands of an ever-dependable Rendell at her near post.

Off the back of another impressive performance, Southampton’s next game sees them travel to Chichester & Selsey on Wednesday evening, where they will hope to further extend their winning start to the season.

Plymouth Argyle

1
Poppy Soper (GK)
21
Rebecca McMullin
24
Sophie Perrin
19
Tracey Cross
3
Rosie Train
18
Imogen Crawford
7
Emily Eaton
replace Katelyn Bell (72′)
8
Zoe Cunningham (C)
9
Gabrielle Alphous
13
Natasha Knapman
11
Beth Ireland
5
Katie Middleton
14
Isabelle Mansell
12
Katelyn Bell
20
Megan Kowalski

Southampton

1
Kayla Rendell (GK)
2
Ella Morris
3
Shelly Provan
replace Alisha Ware (63′)
6
Laura Rafferty
8
Phoebe Williams
9
Ella Pusey
replace Georgie Freeland (55′)
10
Shannon Sievwright (C)
12
Sophia Pharoah
16
Caitlin Morris
21
Leeta Rutherford goal goal
22
Ciara Watling yellow card goal
replace Milly Mott (81′)
7
Georgie Freeland
11
Alisha Ware
13
Sara Luce
18
Milly Mott

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