REPORT | Away day delight for Southampton in Maidenhead

Laura Vokes bagged a brace as Southampton won 4-0

Southampton Women's returned to league action with a win 4-0 away win against Maidenhead United on Sunday in the FA Women's National League Division One South West.

E-J May struck from 20-yards to give the Reds a first-half lead as Maidenhead kept the visitors at bay.

It wasn't the end though as Laura Vokes scored twice and Hannah Samuels made it four in the second-half.

Changes were forced upon manager Aaron Smith with goalkeeper Rose Kite out with a slight injury meaning Kellie Warren went in goal.

New signing Lucy Mear went straight into the squad alongside Gracie White in defence while Jane Yeates and Samuels also returned to the starting line-up.

Southampton looked dangerous from the start and were caught out early by the offside flag.

Erin Bloomfield linking up with her fellow attackers in Vokes and Yeates however, they were flagged by the assistant referee.

The first shot went to the hosts who gambled on a heavy touch in the Southampton backline but failed to capitalise the striker dragging the ball wide.

Half chances and opportunities materialised for Southampton however, the final strikes lacked the conviction to test the United keeper.

18 minutes played and Southampton's pressure paid off.

Yeates in the corner opened herself up to set back to May who brushed off the defender to curl the ball into the box with Bloomfield looming in front of the keeper.

No one got a touch on the midfielder's ball from 20-yards as it easily bounced into the net.

Yeates soon found the side netting and then Bloomfield was unable to convert why under pressure.

Captain Lauren Cheshire struck the post as she aimed to recreated her free-kick against Milton Keynes Dons and then seconds later Yeates was put in the sin bin for dissent.

Despite the numerical disadvantage Southampton controlled the game but were struggling against the offside flag with Vokes and Holden being caught out before the break.

Half-time came with Yeates back on the pitch and just the one goal between the two sides.

Southampton came out with the same vigour for the second-half and almost doubled their advantage through Yeates but her stunning volley was blocked on the goalline.

A minute later though and the visitors' had their second goal.

Goalscorer May turned provider as she brought the ball down and played Vokes into space fo a well-driven low shot.

Nearing the hour mark Smith rang the changes as Mear and Cheshire were replaced by Emily Wernham and Nat Bavister, it also saw Warren move back into defence and Yeates don the keeper gloves for the remainder of the game.

Those changes had a positive effect on the team with Vokes forcing the Maidenhead keeper to stretch out and tip the ball over before Wernham's header just missed the target.

Bloomfield had a shot with the outside of her foot but the keeper saved, she'd been excellently set up by May's neat flicked on pass.

Samuels had a couple of chances; a looping effort that was punched clear before a 30-yard free-kick that was held by the keeper.

The visitors continued to search for more goals and it paid dividends when Bloomfield using her strength and good feet before finding Vokes.

Despite the defensive pressure, Vokes tucked the ball under the keeper for her fifth goal of the season and Southampton's third of the game.

A fourth soon followed, Bloomfield involved again.

Using her strength to brush off several defenders as she moved from the left into the middle to pick out Samuels in space who nipped past a defender to finish in the bottom corner.

In the late stages of the game, Vokes almost clinched a hat-trick in not for some heroics on the goalline from United.

The hosts had a great chance to get a late consolation goal but Yeates blocked well to preserve the clean sheet.

Full-time and Southampton's first league match and away game in seven weeks ended in a convincing victory.


Up next Southampton host Larkhall Athletic in the FA Women's National League Division One South West on Sunday, December 15th at Romsey Town FC. Kick-off 2:00pm.

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