AFC Bournemouth edged out a tightly contested league encounter with Southampton Women’s FC on Sunday winning 1-0.
Southampton took to the field in the FA Cup 50th Anniversary match shirts but there was very little to separate the two sides at half-time.
Jade Bradley scored the only goal of the game when she was found in space to shoot and convert from 25-yards out.
On the anniversary of when the Football Association banned women from playing football at their affiliated grounds, Southampton took to the field against Bournemouth wearing a match shirt designed to celebrate the club winning the very first Women’s FA Cup in 1971.
Aaron Smith made one change for the fixture as Hannah Samuels came in from the unavailable Rachel Okoro.
It was a blustery afternoon at Arlebury Park as winter truly showed its face with a bitter wind and the rain coming in.
Both teams flew out the blocks with chances coming early for Southampton and the Cherries respectively however, neither goalkeeper was truly tested.
Kiera Heslam couldn’t keep on her feet as she tried to meet Samuels’ cross before Sian Wylie headed wide.
There were a few more chances for Heslam but she couldn’t keep her efforts on target while down the other end Katie James and Becki Bath weren’t troubling Ellie Park in the Southampton goal from their chances.
It was goalless at the break with neither side showing the quality needed to find a goal.
Southampton went close at the start of the second-half as Samuels drove through the middle of the park setting up Aliss Wheeler to shoot but her effort was well blocked with Heslam also denied on the follow-up.
Wylie had a great chance as she raced through on goal with two defenders on her heels but couldn’t get a shot away as Samantha Chrippes dived low to smother the ball.
On the hour mark though the Cherries found the crucial goal as Bath picked out Bradley in space to shoot from 25-yards into the top corner of the net.
There were half-chances created by Southampton but the crosses and balls into the box fell kindly for Chrippes.
Parker was called into action in the 82nd minute as she denied Molly Clark a top corner finish from the free-kick.
Bournemouth’s defence were resilient as they held on for the three points.
The final whistle came and Southampton remain top of the table although teams around them have games in hand as we near the half way stage of the season.