Women's Report: Saints 2-0 Crystal Palace

By SFC Media time Sun 05 Feb Saints vs Crystal Palace
Photo by Isabelle Field | Southampton FC Women
Sun 05 Feb 2PM
Barclays Womens Championship
Crystal Palace
Pharoah [45+3'] Pusey [90+3']
yellow card
Reilly [64']
Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 2,576

A dominant looking Southampton FC Women's side turned on the afterburners in injury time twice to secure an important three points in the Barclays Women's Championship against Crystal Palace.

Saints put on a dominant display as they beat Palace 2-0 at St Mary's to secure another three points and end a short goal drought.

Sophia Pharaoh's goal in the 40+3' was a deserved payoff for the hard work put in during the first half.

Saints created the lion's share of the chances in the second half also, but it took some fresh legs in the form of Ella Pusey to convert and take the game away from Palace.

Saints nearly had the perfect start as Sophia Pharoah nearly nicked the ball on the edge of the box. Palace’s Liz Waldie passed back to her keeper, but an onrushing Megan Wynne sped through to block the clearance, with the ricochet flying high across the box.

The high press from the home side was causing issues early for the Eagles. Hardworking Alice Griffiths provided an inviting cross after winning the ball, which was tipped away from Laura Rafferty’s head, before Wynne was able to knock down a cross from the opposite side into the path of Ella Morris, whose shot was well held by Fran Kitching.

Neat play from Wynne and Morris tight into the corner of Palace’s half forced the travelling side to clear their lines once more, and Leeta Rutherford would have been frustrated to not get anything on the ensuing corner; Lucia Kendall heading over just in front of her.

Saints were creating chances from all over the pitch. Morris was once again denied by Kitching in the 15th minute as a beautifully weighted ball over the top saw the number 3 one-on-one, only to have her rising shot pushed over the bar.

Despite the chances up the other end, the Saints back line had to stay switched on to deny Palace just after the 20th minute. Annabel Blanchard raced down the right wing, delivering to Paige Bailey-Gayle, with Saints’ Paige Peake sliding in to block the shot.

Kayla Rendell was forced into her first real save of the game just after the half an hour mark, as a cross-shot from Blanchard sailed towards the back post, but Saints’ number 1 was able to tip away.

With the half ticking towards a conclusion and four minutes indicated to be added on, Saints ramped up the pressure.

Some very tidy build-up play saw Sophia Pharoah slip into a pocket in front of goal, with the forward making no mistake in slotting the ball past Kitching in injury time.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  during the Barclays Women’s Championship match between Southampton Women and Crystal Palace at St Mary's Stadium on February 05, 2023 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Isabelle Field/Southampton FC via Getty Images) Photo by Isabelle Field | Southampton FC Women
Sophia Pharoah celebrates with teammate Ella Morris after opening the scoring

A half time change saw debutant Chloe Peplow take to the pitch against her previous loan side, replacing Griffiths who had received a knock in the first half.

Pharoah nearly got her second just five minutes into the half as Rosie Parnell delivered a ball deep into the box, the number 12 chesting the ball forward before being shut down.

Saints looked the more likely as play continued towards the 60th minute, with Kendall the next player to threaten; The England Youth international going inches from a ball that Morris flashed across the box from wide.


A clash of heads saw come to a sudden halt shortly after, with Rafferty needing treatment from the physios - The ensuing free-kick awarded on the edge of the box charged down by the Palace wall.


Peplow was getting battered by her old side, but was unlucky not to create something from nothing after a strong challenge saw herself and Wynne nearly unleashed two-on-one in attack. Both players were frustrated to hear the referee's whistle.


A second change saw the Wynne replaces by Katie Wilkinson in attack. 


Wilkinson almost had the perfect start, as a through ball straight between the centre backs saw her chase down a chance, but once again, the referee's whistle denied the attack, as she was adjudged to have nudged the retreating defender.


There was concern for Rendell as the half drew to a close, as she bravely threw herself into a melee to deny a chance to head home and required treatment, but the shot stopper was able to continue as Saints looked to cement the three points.


Ella Pusey provided fresh legs in the 90th minute, replacing goalscorer Pharoah, as the fourth official indicated seven minutes to be added on.


And boy, did those fresh legs have an impact. Just three minutes later, Pusey was able to steal the ball from Palace's centreback and slot past Kitching to double the deficit and score her third of the season.


Four minutes of scrappy play as Palace looked to weave their way back to a point was not enough for the visitors, and Saints came away deserved winners after a composed performance.


Kayla Rendell (GK)
Ella Morris
Lucia Kendall
Rosie Parnell (C)
Laura Rafferty
Megan Wynne
replace Katie Wilkinson (75′)
Sophia Pharoah goal
replace Ella Pusey (90′) goal
Alice Griffiths
replace Chloe Peplow (45′)
Leeta Rutherford
Megan Collett
Paige Peake
Milly Mott
Georgie Freeland
Phoebe Williams
Ella Pusey
Ashleigh Ward
Chloe Peplow
Lexi Lloyd-Smith
Katie Wilkinson
Beth Howard

Crystal Palace

Fran Kitching (GK)
Chloe Arthur
replace Elise Hughes (74′)
Anna Filbey
Aimee Everett
Rianna Dean
replace Molly Sharpe (82′)
Annabel Blanchard
Kirsten Reilly yellow card
Liz Waldie
Paige Bailey-Gayle
Hollie Olding
Coral Haines
Annabel Johnson
Fliss Gibbons
Molly Sharpe
Natalia Negri
Elise Hughes
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