Playing their third pre-season friendly in their first week together as a team, the U12s held their own against a league-winning U13 side on a fine Saturday morning.
Early pressure by Darcey Maxted got the ball heading in the right direction from the off, but soon the first corner was taken by New Milton and a goal attempt 10 minutes in went over the cross bar. Defensive moves by Southampton soon followed, with quality passing between Sophie Moore and Mo Delaney, Poppy Baxter winning the ball, Brooke Suddaby making strong clearances and passes and Robyn Hagues firmly marking the New Milton striker.
Within a few minutes though, Southampton got lucky when another shot by New Milton went wide. With both teams playing three up front, there were some great balls in for both sides. But no sooner had Brooke placed a great ball up the line to Chloe half way through the first half, the tide turned and New Milton scored their first goal in the 16th minute.
Michelle Orji held firm in midfield and her sister, Victoria came on with Esme Taylor to strengthen it further, replacing Robyn and Poppy.
A great ball followed from Mo to Darcey, who kept battling to win the ball for a shot. But the ball returned to New Milton's possession before Victoria Orji won it back with a great strong tackle and fielded it up to Mo who had a shot at the goal herself in the 24th minute.
Brooke cleared a strong ball in before heading the ball away from the danger zone to allow Michelle to drive the ball forward once more. Some good passing between Sophie and Mo soon followed demonstrating some great confidence before Brooke chased New Milton's number 10 to push the ball wide as they had another shot a few minutes away from the whistle.
But Goalkeeper Emma Stait held a strong position this time and made some good saves before action up the other end of the pitch saw Chloe win the ball and cross it in with great accuracy. Esme, Darcy and Chloe battled up front to win the tackles as Chloe received the ball out on the right wing making good crosses in, but to no avail.
Some strong play on the wings soon followed, with Brooke placing the ball up the line on the right and Sophie doing the same on the left and a goal attempt failed to reach the back of the net as it was punched away by Emma.
Esme took a shot at goal which returned to Chloe and then went wide to Mo. Esme placed the ball back in to Victoria and strong passes by Michelle soon followed. Chloe won the tackle and passed the ball in to Darcey who slipped but very nearly scored, just as the half time whistle blew.
The second half saw the girls hold their own with even more strength against the older team, with some good passing decisions. Mo passed from Chloe to Darcey and Victoria worked hard up front to supply Chloe with the ball. Just one minute into the second half and Darcey made a strong shot, which was won back by Mo before Brooke passed the ball back up to Chloe.
Three minutes in and an attempt by New Milton saw Emma make another cracking save. Back down the other end and Darcey shot the ball just wide.
Some strong defensive kicks from Michelle Orji and good balls up the line from Brooke, saw Victoria pass to Chloe who crossed the ball in beautifully to Darcey Maxted who scored her fifth goal for the team in the 38th minute. The scoreline now being equal, much like the possession at 1-1
Sixty seconds later Darcey had another attempt and Michelle made some great throws in to the attacking players. But it wasn't long before New Milton had possession of the ball again and, despite Sophie battling hard for the ball, it soon saw the back of the net in the 41st minute.
Just 2-1 down, Darcey kept pressing on and ran past one player, and round another before having another go at scoring. A great release from Mo to Chloe and some strong battling followed before Mo had another couple of attempts at goal, with Sophie, Esme and Brooke supporting further back.
Half way through the second half, Poppy and Robyn came on for Sophie and Esme and Emma made two further saves by coming out of the box to collect the ball with confidence. Within a few minutes, the ball was sent wide by New Milton who were putting the pressure on again. A great clearance by Robyn and tackle by Poppy saw the ball in Southampton's possession before New Milton won it back and gave Emma another opportunity to make a save.
Sophie and Esme came back on for Brooke and Mo and Poppy and Chloe won the ball back before another corner ball which saw Robyn and Michelle both clearing the ball to safety. A New Milton corner followed and Poppy passed the ball in to Esme who lost the ball but won is straight back and passed it directly to Chloe who ran up for a strong attempt. Big runs were made by Chloe who also battled hard to win the ball back, before receiving a throw in from Darcey.
As New Milton seized control and took a throw, Emma made another great save and got the ball to Robyn, who passed up field. Some great defending by Sophie in the box saw another goal from New Milton averted, making the final score 2-1 to New Milton.
Result: Southampton 1 New Milton 2
Goals: Darcey 1