The Women’s National League was given a terrific boost today as the BBC saw fit to broadcast the play-off final between WNL South Champions, Southampton and Wolverhampton, their equivalent from the WNL North division. The prize at stake at Edgeley Park: promotion to the WSL Championship.
After a slow start, the first chance went to Southampton. Great link up play in the sixth minute between Sophia Pharoah and Lucia Kendell saw Kendell through one-on-one. Electing to try and chip the keeper rather than going for power, Kendell’s effort was well saved.
Wolves created a good chance of their own on fifteen minutes as the frenetic start to the match continued unabated. A goal mouth scramble ensued as Gauntlett tried desperately to get a shot away for Wolves before Laura Rafferty was able to clear. Both teams were struggling to find their rhythm.
Southampton took the lead on 20 minutes. Pharoah latched on to Georgie Freeland’s through ball before composing herself. After rounding the keeper, Pharoah calmly slotted the ball into the empty net.
Southampton’s goal scorer, Sophia Pharoah scoring in the league match against Portsmouth earlier in the season.
The Saints should have made it two when Griffiths missed an open goal just after the half-hour. Following in as Kendell’s free kick was tipped onto the post, Griffiths blazed over from six yards with the goal at her mercy.
Dangerous on the counter attack, Wolves carved out a couple of half chances before going down to ten players on the stroke of half time. Kelly Darby was given her marching orders after kicking out at the lively Aleisha Ware.
Wolves reverted to a back four in the second half and started the second half well. Tammi George was able to get her foot on the ball and carved out a few opportunities in the second half.
Southampton, in the end, were comfortable and saw the game out with assurance.
Southampton replace Watford in the WSL Championship next season. Wolves will hope to go one better next season.