WC: Southampton v Blackburn Rovers
Saints make it two out of two with a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers
Southampton FC omen
4 September 2023
Southampton made it two wins out of two in the Championship as they beat Blackburn Rovers 2-0 on Sunday. Both goals were scored during the second half with them coming from Sophia Pharoah and an Alex Brooks own goal.
These two were the only sides to win their opening matches last weekend. Southampton head coach Marieanne Spacey-Cale made two changes from their 4-1 win at Lewes with Ella Morris and Laura Rafferty replacing Lexi Lloyd-Smith and Alice Griffiths. Simon Parker made one change from the Rovers side that beat Birmingham 1-0 with Lauren Thomas coming in for Georgia Walters.
Blackburn had the first chance in the 2nd minute when Lucy Shepherd just couldn’t get her head onto a dangerous cross. At the other end two minutes later, Southampton put in a dangerous low cross of their own that was put behind for a corner. From the corner, Brooks made a double save to deny Katie Wilkinson and then claimed the ball before it crossed the line. A great ball forward from Jemma Purfield found Molly Pike who passed to Wilkinson but she shot wide in the 6th minute for the Saints. Six minutes later, a long-range effort from Megan Collett dipped over the crossbar as Southampton had more of the early chances.
After a fairly frantic start, the match then went through a quite spell chance wise on what was a warm and sunny afternoon at St Mary’s Stadium. Purfield was pinging some nice balls around the pitch for the hosts, and one of these found Morris but she shot over in the 28th minute. The home side had the next opportunity but a good ball across the six-yard box was unable to find Pike. Just as two minutes of additional time at the end of the half were announced, Pike put an effort wide. This turned out to be the last chance of the half as the sides went in goalless at half time.
Pharoah gave Southampton the lead in the 49th minute, scoring her second goal of the season, when she dinked the ball over the Blackburn goalkeeper from inside the area after a superb through ball from Wilkinson.
Four minutes later, Wilkinson couldn’t get enough contact on a cross and headed wide from close-range as the Saints looked to quickly double their advantage. The next effort didn’t come until the 75th minute when Lucia Kendall put an effort over after some nice build up play from Southampton. Jade Richards made a brilliant block on the line to deny Pike in the 89th minute as the hosts came close to making the game safe.
They did score their second in the first minute of stoppage time when Kendall’s shot from just outside the area hit the post and went into the net off the unlucky Brooks.
The home fans were chanting “we are top the league” near the end of the match as the Saints remain the only side with a 100% record in the league after two games. Both sides play again on Sunday when Southampton take on Sunderland at St Mary’s whilst Blackburn return to Ewood Park to play Sheffield United.
Southampton: Rendell, Morris, Mott, Kendall, Parnell (c), Rafferty (Peake 77’), Wilkinson (Kraft 90’), Pharoah (Lloyd-Smith 77’), Pike, Purfield, Collett
Unused substitutes: Howard, Wynne, Thompson, Milne, Griffiths
Goals – Pharoah 49’, Brooks (o.g.) 90’+1
Booked - Collett
Blackburn Rovers: Brooks, Tolond, Seed (Silcock 57’), Richards (c), Williams, Hornby, Taylor (Coan 57’), Shepherd (Smith 68’), Chandarana (Doyle 45’), Thomas (Dahou 68’), Nokuthula
Unused substitutes: Salgado, Howarth, Dale
Booked - Richards
Referee – Lisa Benn
Attendance – 1,645