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Match Report

WC: Reading v Southampton

Southampton earn four goals to Reading's one as the Saints soar to the top of the table

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Southampton FC Women

18 September 2023

Southampton’s impressive 4-1 win against Reading at the Select Car Leasing Stadium on Sunday saw them move to the top of the Women’s Championship table.  The Saints goals were scored by Molly Pike, Katie Wilkinson, debutant Atlanta Primus and Jemma Purfield whilst Charlie Estcourt got Reading’s consolation one.

Southampton came into this match after having lost at home to Sunderland last weekend, and they had the first effort at goal in the 8th minute when Pike shot wide from outside the area after being played in by Primus. 

Two minutes later, Pike did give the Saints the lead when she got onto Megan Collett’s superb through ball and from 18-yards shot low into the corner of the net past Emily Orman.

Reading had drawn their first three matches, and their first attempt at goal in this one came in the 19th minute but Josie Longhurst saw her shot well saved by Kayla Rendell.  In the 25th minute, a long-range effort from Deanna Cooper was pushed away by the Southampton goalkeeper.

At the other end two minutes later, Pike got onto another through ball but this time her low shot was saved. 

Almost immediately after that, Pike was brought down in the area by Orman after a nice pass from Primus and the Saints were awarded a penalty.  Wilkinson stepped up to take the spot kick and sent it high into the corner of the net to double Southampton’s lead.

Wilkinson put the visitors next opportunity wide in the 37th minute after being played in by Pike.  Four minutes later, Lucia Kendall was allowed to run forward from way inside her own half and sent a shot at goal from the edge of the area that was tipped over by Orman.  From the corner, Wilkinson headed over as Southampton looked to extend their lead further before the break.

At numerous times during the first half, Wilkinson was dropping back for Southampton which was allowing space for Pike to run forward, and the former Leicester player saw an effort blocked during stoppage time at the end of the first half when this happened again.

It started raining during half time which got heavier during the second half. 

Southampton had the first opportunities of the second period in the 51st minute when Orman saved an Ella Morris effort with her feet then Pike saw an effort blocked by Rachel Dugdale.  A nice Southampton attacking move down the right-hand side which included Milly Mott, Collett, Morris and Kendall finished with the ball being headed behind for a corner.

The home side had their first effort at goal during the second half in the 65th minute but Rendell kept out Lily Woodham’s 25-yard shot.  Two second half substitutes combined a few minutes later when Charlie Wellings was played in by Freya Gregory but Paige Peake stopped her having an effort at goal with a good tackle.

Southampton made it 3-0 in the 73rd minute when after another nice move down the right-hand side, Pike passed to Primus whose shot deflected off Bethan Roberts and into the net.

In the 81st minute, the Saints made it 4-0 when Sophia Pharoah saw her effort hit the crossbar but Purfield was on hand to head in the rebound from close-range.

Reading got a goal back in the third minute of stoppage time when Estcourt finished nicely with a volley from 10-yards following a corner.

Southampton go into the international break in top spot, and in their next game on the 1st October they take on Birmingham City at home.  Reading are in tenth position in the league after four matches, and their next game is away to Durham in a few weeks.


Line ups

Reading: Orman, Dugdale (Gregory 62’), Houssein (Elwood 80’), Cooper (Jarvis 45’), Wade, Hendrix, Mayi Kith (Smith 45’), Estcourt, Longhurst (Wellings 62’), Woodham (c), Roberts

Unused substitutes: Kite, Meadows Tuson, Cox

Goal – Estcourt 90’+3

Booked - Elwood


Southampton: Rendell, Collett, Mott, Peake, Purfield, Kendall (c), Rafferty, Morris (Wynne 82’), Pike (Thompson 89’), Primus (Pharoah 74’), Wilkinson (Kraft 82’)

Unused substitutes: Howard, Lloyd-Smith, Milne

Goals – Pike 10’, Wilkinson (pen) 28’, Primus 73’, Purfield 81’


Referee – Adewunmi Soneye


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