Another week, another Vitality Women’s FA Cup matchday for Southampton FC Women, who face Yeovil United in the third round of the competition on Sunday.
Saints vs Yeovil United
Vitality Women’s FA Cup – Third round
Sunday 11th April, 2pm GMT
LIVE on Facebook and southamptonfc.com, in association with Virgin Media (details below)
It was a successful return to competitive football for Saints last weekend, with victory over Plymouth Argyle in the last round of the competition.
Youngster Lucia Kendall got Saints going in the 34th minute, with a darting header at the back post following a pinpoint cross by full-back Milly Mott.
The second followed just ten minutes later; Rachel Panting Johnny-on-the-spot at the back post to tuck in another left-sided cross just shy of the break.
Plymouth looked to grab a foothold in the second half, but the result was secured in the 77th minute with Rosie Parnell’s first goal for the club following a corner routine.
Before their season was curtailed Yeovil had a mixed bag in terms of results.
Playing just five games Sunday’s opponents won two, drew one and lost once in a campaign that really did not get going.
In the last round Yeovil got past Keynsham Town away with home, Chloe Lloyd’s second-half penalty the deciding factor.
Saints and Yeovil are making a habit of meeting in cup competition in recent seasons, having faced each other in successive weeks in both the FA and National League cup.
Their last meeting came in the FA Cup, in a game that went all the way to penalties at Clayson Stadium in December 2019.
Alisha Ware put Saints in front in the 63rd minute in a game where Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s side more than matched their third-tier opponents.
But Yeovil grabbed the lifeline of extra-time with just seconds to spare through Annie Heatherson’s speculative effort from range.
With nothing to set the two sides apart in extra-time the game went to a shootout, with Shannon Albuery, Shannon Sievwright, Rachel Panting, Ella Morris and Caitlin Morris all taking and converting their kicks as Saints went through 5-4.
WATCH THE GAME LIVE
Sunday’s third round cup tie is being streamed LIVE thanks to our partners at Virgin media.
You can watch the tie on our official Facebook page or southamptonfc.com
Tune in and watch the girls from Snows Stadium, with coverage starting at 1.55pm GMT
PLAYER FOCUS: CAILTIN MORRIS
One of the takers in that shootout last year, Caitlin Morris is excited at the prospect of facing Yeovil again but this time on home territory.
“The last two games we’ve played against them were really close,” said Morris. “But we’re ready and wanting to go in and play our best.
“We’re expecting a tough game so we’ll be ready for that. We’re hoping to go out there and counteract their strengths and exploit some of their weaknesses. Play our way and play our style.
“With the league being cancelled the incentive to keep winning [in the FA Cup] and as a result keep playing is there and is a really big motivator.
Last weekend’s 3-0 win over Plymouth saw yet another clean sheet for the side, meaning they are yet to concede a goal in the competition this season.
“All the girls worked so hard over the lockdown and I think last weekend showed that. We [as defenders] probably celebrate the clean sheets as much as we do every goal.
“Obviously we’ve got Kayla [Rendell] there too behind us and you know she’s going to be there so I think it’s something we can build on.”
PLAYER FOCUS: PHOEBE WILLIAMS
Another mainstay in the Saints side during the FA Cup run this season is Phoebe Williams, who scored during the third qualifying round victory at Ilminster Town.
For Williams, the manner of the side’s winning return against Plymouth showed just how hard everyone worked during the lockdown period.
“It was great to finally be back out on the pitch,” she said. “I think our performance showed just how hard both the staff and the players have been working.
The atmosphere after the game was great and it’s so good to be back now. It’s so great to be back here with the girls and the coaches.
“When we played Yeovil last season we had two tough games and I think it’s another great opportunity for us to show what we’re capable of achieving against higher opponents.
“The girls are just so excited for it because now the FA Cup is the only competitive games we have left this season.”
It was a successful return to work for Spacey-Cale and her staff last weekend with the win over Plymouth.
The Saints manager is already looking ahead in a competition she feels holds many opporutnities for her players.
“It was good to have three sessions in the week with the excitement building,” she told us. “Then to get the win was just great. I’ve spoken before about all the work the staff and the players put into the lockdown and that came to fruition.
“You want to get into that pattern of what training looks like three times a week as opposed to it being virtual, so having that consistency and seeing the girls regularly prepare for games is exciting and what we want to do.
“I think Yeovil are going to be a real challenge for us. It wasn’t long ago they were in the Women’s Super League and they’re another team who’ve come back in with an intensity and a desire to get into the next stage of the FA Cup.
“We had two good results against them but things have changed so much in the last twelve months.
“We certainly respect them as an opponent so we’re going to have to work hard and really challenge ourselves in order to get a result on Sunday.”