Match Report: Southampton Women 1-1 Cheltenham Town

Southampton Women’s FC denied Cheltenham Town all three points thanks to an injury-time goal from Lucy Mear as the two sides drew 1-1 at Winklebury Football Complex.

There was very little to separate the two sides in the first-half with Southampton enjoying more of the possession but it was the Robins who took advantage first.

Minutes after the restart Lacy-Jai Liggett poked home for Cheltenham who were close to the win until the 92nd minute when Mear powered in a header to ensure a point for the Reds.

Aaron Smith named an unchanged side from the team who beat Maidenhead United 4-0 the week before with just the one change on the bench as Kiera Heslam came in for Aimee Lawrence.

It was a cagey start to the game with neither side truly grabbing a hold of the tie the first chances came to Southampton with Aliss Wheeler and Emily Wernham but didn’t result in a goal.

Cheltenham grew into the game but again they couldn’t truly threaten in front of the Southampton goal as Chloe Tucker and Mear defended well to deny the long balls in behind and deep free-kicks.

Just past the half-hour mark Brittany Jeal had her volley from the edge of the area well saved by Town’s goalkeeper who dived low to deny the attacking midfielder.

There was a momentary gasp from the home crowd as Ellie Parker slightly misjudged a soft shot at goal from Jiggett but was saved by the post.

Shots and chances were restricted as the two sides headed into the break goalless.

Photos: Dave Bodymore

Heslam was brought on for the second-half in replace of Rachel Okoro with Smith looking to the winger’s pace and quality crossing to get the breakthrough.

It didn’t go to plan though as it was Cheltenham who scored the first two minutes into the second-half as Liggett was given the opportunity to score at the back post from a deep free-kick.

The Reds couldn’t quite find an instant reply as the Robins defended why to intercept Heslam’s crosses and free-kicks as Southampton mounted up the pressure.

Jeal had a great chance to equalise but her shot was well blocked before Wernham had her effort claimed by the keeper.

Southampton enjoyed the better of the ball but they were finding a well organised Cheltenham defence in their way however, the team didn’t give in.

Time was slipping away with the visitors trying to slow the game down from early in the second-half.

The breakthrough came in the 92nd minute when Mear ran through the box to powerfully head home Heslam’s pinpoint corner for her second goal of the season.

There was still eight minutes of injury-time remaining and the Reds looked the most likely to score but in the end, it was points shared.

Southampton remain 15 points behind the league leaders with four games in hand on the top two who both have just two games remaining.

It’s been a tough season in the FA Women’s National League Division One South West with various teams taking points off of each other.