Women's Report: Sunderland 0-1 Saints

By SFC Media time Sun 12 Feb Sunderland vs Saints
Photo by Isabelle Field | Southampton FC Women
Sun 12 Feb 11.30AM
Barclays Womens Championship
Wilkinson [79']
Holmes [58']
yellow card
Peplow [61']
Referee: Christina Hattersley | Venue: Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground | Attendance: 558

Southampton FC Women secured another important three points in the title race as they beat Sunderland 1-0 at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground.

It was a cagey first half for both sides, with keepers tested at either end, but neither side able to break the deadlock.

It took a change in the strikeforce and some Katie Wilkinson magic to secure the three points late in the second half, with Ella Pusey also going close in what was a strong final ten minutes.

Saints looked raring to go as the whistle blew in front of the 500 strong crowd, including a vocal travelling contingent.

A through ball from Lucia Kendall was the first glimmer of a chance, as the England Youth International turned from a Kayla Rendell ball and slotted through the middle. Sophia Pharoah did well to round the keeper, but the assistant referee’s flag was already raised.

It was Sunderland with the first clear-cut chance however, as a poor pass and touch at the back saw Laura Rafferty with a two-on-one to deal with. Rendell did well to close the space as the ball was played across, but ultimately didn’t have a save to make as Emily Scarr’s shot sailed high over the bar.

Saints began to find their stride in the 15th minute, with Kendall and Collett linking up neatly in the midfield to provide an attacking threat, creating everything but the final ball.

However, two minutes later, Saints had a real chance in front of goal. Wynne and Pharoah linked up well, with the former sending a cross fizzing across the face of goal towards Kendall, only for Megan Beer to slide across to spin the ball over the crossbar.

Saints were denied in similar fashion in the 23rd minute. Paige Peake played a searching ball forward to Ella Morris, who had the space to drive into the box and cut back to Kendall, once again demanding a well-timed block from Sunderland’s defence.

Kendall came close again in the 35th minute as she was fed through into the box, forcing another block, before a farmed out corner saw a rising shot fly just over the bar.

The first half petered out with little more action, although Sunderland would have counted themselves unlucky not to capitalise on a poor clearance right before the whistle, in which an improvised backheel was collected by Rendell.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  during the Barclays Women’s Championship match betweenm Sunderland and  Southampton Women at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground on February 12, 2023 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Isabelle Field/Southampton FC via Getty Images) Photo by Isabelle Field | Southampton FC Women
Rosie Parnell clears the ball in the first half of action at the Eppleton Colliery Ground

Pharoah looked bright in the opening exchanges of the second half, and looked to be through clean on goal within the first five, only to be shepherded off the ball on the touchline.

Sunderland almost opened the scoring up the other end just after the 50th minute, as a sweeping ball across the box looked destined to land at the feet of Jessica Brown at the back post, but Rendell was alert to the danger and gathered well.

With both teams increasingly frustrated by the scrappy nature of the game, tackles were beginning to fly in late. Abby Holmes became the first player to enter the referee’s book for a late challenge on Leeta Rutherford, before Peplow was also written up for catching Holmes minutes later.

A change in the strikeforce in the 66th minute saw Katie Wilkinson and Ella Pusey replace Wynne and Pharoah on the turf.

The pair nearly had the desired impact as the clock ticked past the 70th minute, Wilkinson doing well to tip a ball forward before feeding Pusey through on goal, the number 9 being brought back for offside.

Less than a minute later, Pusey was again through on goal, with the assistant referee’s flag staying down this time, but a poor touch let her down instead, as Claudia Moan was able to claim.

Pusey’s strike partner Wilkinson was next to make a foray into the box. Kendall delivered the perfect switch, which Wilkinson was able to bring down, touch past a player and slam towards goal; Once again, the Sunderland defence stood firm.

The blockade was always going to fall as Saints continued to step up the pressure, and it was substitute Wilkinson that made sure of that fact in the 79th minute.

Kendall did well to jinx her way through the Sunderland defence, sliding a ball to her left. Wilkinson had the composure to take a touch and slot into the bottom of the net to give Saints a deserved lead.

It was nearly two less than a minute later as Wilkinson rattled the crossbar with a dipping shot.

Saints would be content with taking three points on the long trip home however, in what was another competitive Barclays Women's Championship fixture.


Claudia Moan (GK)
Megan Beer
Grace McCatty
Emily Scarr
Danielle Brown
Jessica Brown
replace Katy Watson (82′)
Emma Kelly (C)
Abbey Joice
replace Brenna McPartlan (82′)
Abby Holmes yellow card
Brianna Westrup
Liz Ejupi
Allison Cowling
Esther Morgan
Grace Ede
Libbi McInnes
Megan Borthwich
Katy Watson
Brenna McPartlan


Kayla Rendell (GK)
Ella Morris
Lucia Kendall
Rosie Parnell (C)
Laura Rafferty
Megan Wynne
replace Katie Wilkinson (66′) goal
Sophia Pharoah
replace Ella Pusey (66′)
Chloe Peplow yellow card
Leeta Rutherford
Megan Collett
Paige Peake
Milly Mott
Georgie Freeland
Phoebe Williams
Ella Pusey
Beth Lumsden
Lexi Lloyd-Smith
Alice Griffiths
Katie Wilkinson
Beth Howard
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