Southampton FC Report

22nd September 2019

Southampton FC’s women 4

Southampton: Sievwright 26′, Pusey 30′, Whitton 41′, Panting 90+4′

Goals from Shannon Sievwright, Ella Pusey, Kirsty Whitton and Rachel Panting handed Cheltenham Town their first defeat of the season by an impressive Southampton FC at the Snow’s Stadium.

The visitors went in search of an attack early but couldn’t find a way through, before being put on the back foot as the Saints patiently passed the ball, waiting for an opening.

The Robins put in a good defensive effort, repelling a number of Southampton chances before Levett was called into action, diving in at the striker’s feet. 

While showing a well drilled defence, the visitors’ chances were limited to possession around the Saints’ box, but the final pass struggled to find its target.

Saints took advantage of Cheltenham’s inability to forge an opening and used their skilful passing to fashion their own chances, camping down in the visitor’s half and playing some neat football.

They eventually got their break as a low central ball into the Cheltenham box wasn’t dealt with, allowing Sievwright to place her shot well.

Less than five minutes later the home side doubled their lead, a long range strike from Pusey looping over Cheltenham ‘keeper, Levett, and finding the net.

The Robins tried to pick it up but the home side’s quality showed and their defence kept Cheltenham’s attacks to sporadic opportunities. 

The home side we’re presented with another sniff at goal as Dolloway got caught under a ball played from deep. Fortunately the combination of Hallsworth and Butler shut the door on the striker.

With five minutes left of the half, Southampton took a comfortable lead. Whitton’s shot from distance bouncing just in front of Levett; the Cheltenham stopper unable to make a last-second adjustment.

Half time: Soton FC 3-0 CTLFC

Saints started as they had finished in the first half, sending the ball deep into the Cheltenham half and putting the pressure on the visitors’ defence.

With the home side having a good spell of possession at the start of the second half, Cheltenham needed to make their openings count, with Hitchcox using her pace to set up an attack, but unfortunately Martin couldn’t provide the finish in the crowded box.

Cheltenham dug deep and managed to craft a bit of dominance for themselves, playing their football in the Southampton half, with the home side only able to clear away as far as as Fensome (pictured)

The attack would fade out after Bevan won a header in the box and Georgia Brown was unable to keep the ball in play.

The game would become a box-to-box game with both teams searching for the final goal of the game. 

Butterfield would try her luck from a wide angle but couldn’t get it on target as Cheltenham’s attacks would come either side of Southampton’s corners, with Cheltenham’s final view of goal coming from an Ella Hitchcox cross which was cut out.

The final goal came at the death, as Cheltenham switched off, expecting the game to be restarted from a goalkick. Saints played to the whistle and were presented with a straight forward tap-in from close range to seal the win.

Cheltenham: R. Levett, S. Hallsworth, C. Dolloway, M. Butler, L. Ellis, L. Fensome (A. Kempski 82), A. Bevan, G. Brown (C. Criddle 82), S. King (S. Butterfield 76), E. Hitchcox, A. Martin


Manager Alex Cheal was naturally disappointed with the result but had no issues with losing to today’s opposition:

“We were beaten by a better team on the day today. It’s a lesson for us, nothing is won or lost today and we’ll take the positives from it, particularly the second half performance. We were really disappointed at half time with our performance, where we crumbled and allowed them to have a lot of joy, but over the whole 90 minutes, we’ve not created anything, we’ve not threatened them that much at all. But there are no qualms at all, cause they were the better team.

“It’s the same story as Keynsham away last season, where we gave them far far too much respect. They are built up as a big thing and nobody can beat them, and they shouldn’t be at our level, etc. but they’re at this level, that’s it, and they’re playing at this level for a reason. And we can offer so much more than we put out today but we just didn’t hit that level today. They had some good players, some technicians but if we perform, then it’s not a 4-0 game. But like I said, they deserved it and we have to make sure we learn from it and become stronger from that result and we’ll see the how the reverse fixture of that one goes.

[For next week] “We know what we have to do now, and we have to keep pressuring the teams around us and I don’t think we have done that so far with our scorelines justifying our performances so we need to start converting those performances into big scorelines. We will rotate a little though, we’ve gone with an almost identical eleven to last week, which is almost unheard of for us. Other players have sat in the wings and waited for their opportunity but we have to bear in mind we can’t afford to slip up now from here until the end of the season. But that’s why we have such a big squad, we know if we change someone like-for-like, we’ll still get that high quality from people.

Next week is a bit of a different one, but we’ll focus on the takeaways from this game, and use that to prepare for Maidenhead”

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