Rachel Okoro scored a brace as Southampton Women’s FC won 4-0 against Maidenhead United at York Road on Sunday.
The Reds took the lead through Okoro before Emily Wernham scored her first goal since the opening day of the season.
After the break, Sian Wylie scored her 20th goal of the season before Okoro headed home her second to complete the win.
Southampton headed into the game having not played a league fixture in six weeks following a series of postponements.
The Reds were looking to close the gap between themselves and the top of the table with Aaron Smith selecting a strong team to face the Magpies.
Maidenhead carved out an opportunity in the first minute but it was Southampton who had the brighter start.
Okoro was put through on a number of occasions and could have scored had it not been for United’s good defending, however, a foul on the young attacker would see the deadlock broken.
Aliss Wheeler stepped up to take the resulting free-kick and swung it towards the back post for Chloe Tucker whose header was well blocked but not cleared as Okoro swung round to put into the net.
The visitors continued to control much of the play and were unlucky not to make it 2-0 in the 24th minute from Emma Whitlock’s free-kick.
Following a foul on Wheeler, the midfielder stepped up and sent a well place ball into the box which came off of the leg of a
Maidenhead defender and into the goal but it was ruled out due to an offside in the build-up.
On the half-hour mark Southampton did double their advantage through another set-piece.
Whitlock this time from a corner set a deep ball into the area for Lucy Mear to head back across the goal where Wernham was quick to volley in.
The Magpies had a good chance to get a goal back but struck the woodwork two minutes after the second goal.
Brittany Jeal and Okoro combined a couple of times as the game headed towards half-time but just missed the target.
It took just four minutes into the second for Southampton to grab a third goal.
Top goalscorer Wylie was put through in behind by Wheeler where the striker drove into space past several defenders before striking a lovely, dipping ball from 25-yards to tuck under the crossbar for her 20th goal of the season. Seven minutes later and it looked like it was game over as Okoro headed home her tenth goal of the campaign.
Another Whitlock corner soared perfectly into the box where Okoro rose the highest to meet the ball and nod home for her second of the afternoon.
With the game looking set changes were made for the visitors but the chances continued to come.
Substitute Hannah Samuels went close twice as she found the space to shoot from range and narrowly missed.
E-J May was also unlucky not to find the target as she came close to scoring into the top corner.
Southampton controlled much of the game even as Maidenhead enjoyed more possession towards the end but Ellie Parker remained relatively unchallenged in her goal.