Report | All square in the Southampton derby

Rose Kite dives in to block Shannon Albuery's advances. Photo credit Ken Dear.

Over 500 fans watched an entertaining 0-0 at AFC Totton in the Southampton derby between Southampton FC Women and Southampton Women's FC.

There was very little that separated the two sides but both goalkeepers made vital saves to keep their team in it.

Rose Kite was especially busy in the second-half two cracking saves that meant Saints failed to score in a league match for the first time since they started.

Heading into the game both managers knew it was going to be a tough encounter and many fans across Southampton were expected down to the Testwood Stadium.

While a few may have been confused on which Southampton to exactly support on the night the 557 attendees settled themselves in for the FA Women's National League Division One South West clash.

Aaron Smith fielded a strong side that also included latest signing Emma-Jane (EJ) May on the bench who had just signed from Portsmouth.

Saints had made some tactical changes to their side looking to pack out the midfield while giving themselves width playing five in the middle and relying on three at the back.

The game started quick for both teams who had half chances in the opening 10 minutes Vinnie Nkomo and Emily Wernham getting in and around the box but not testing Kayla Rendell.

Rachel Panting nearly saw her shot go into the net when it deflected off of Hannah Samuels but Kite reacted well to save.

The attacks were quick and one after the other for both teams but they lacked a finish as the goals remained untouched.

Saints kept a high line and looked susceptible to the long ball but covered them well thanks to their quick back three.

Jane Yeates went closest as Philippa Holden held the ball up before laying off to the forward but Rendell reached out with her fingertips to deny the opener.

Minutes later and Kite was making a great save with her legs to denying the wickedly fast Ella Morris.

Saints often went for the long ball down the wing to Morris who's pace saw her break into the box however, she couldn't do more as the ball soared out for a goal-kick.

Ella Pusey was another threat for Saints in the box however, she shot straight at Kite who parried with Kellie Warren taking her time to get rid of the ball.

Very little separated the sides at half-time with both goalkeepers making vital saves.

May was introduced at the break and nearly had an instant impact as she pressed Tiffany Taylor high but the ball carried comfortably through to Rendell.

The intensity in the game was still high in the second-half but real chances were few and far between as Saints pressed more aggressively which they were able to sustain as they brought on their substitutions.

There was a heart in the mouth moment for the visitors when Shannon Albuery dashed towards the box and looked to have been brought down by Kite who came out to smother the ball.

The referee did blow her whistle but did not point to the spot and booked the forward for diving suggesting that there was no contact.

Samuels had to be on her toes to deal with the runs of Morris and made some excellently timed tackles to stop the attacks.

While the game seemed to be swinging in favour of the hosts the visitors did look for goal Áine McKeever headed wide before Nkomo was caught just offside with the hosts finishing the game with their preferred option of a back four.

The game edging towards the 90 minute mark and Kite was poised to parry a Saints strike that was hit first time from the edge of the area.

After nearly eight minutes of stoppage time the game came to a close with neither side finding a goal.

The 0-0 draw was the first time Saints have failed to score in a league fixture since they entered the women's football pyramid in 2017 and only the fourth time they've been denied in all competitions.

Full-time: Southampton FC Women 0 Southampton Women's FC 0


Up next for Southampton is a trip to Devon to face newly promoted Exeter City on Sunday, September 8th.

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