In the first of two meetings between these teams in eight days, Yeovil Town hosted Southampton FC in the second round of the National League Cup. Yeovil were the higher league team going into the game, however Southampton have their sights set firmly on promotion as they currently lead the National League South West division.
In his second game in charge, Yeovil manager Jamie Sherwood named a familiar squad among Yeovil fans, with captain Annie Heatherson leading the team from the heart of midfield. Whilst Southampton manager Marieanne Spacey-Cale MBE included former Yeovil Town players Ella Pusey and Shannon Albuery in her starting 11.
Despite a slightly disjointed opening few minutes for both teams, it was the visitors who looked most likely to open the scoring. Their patterns of play left Yeovil’s defence scattered; however they weren’t able to capitalise on their chances. In the 14th minute, Yeovil’s Charlotte Buxton found herself with the ball in space and took a shot which cannoned off the crossbar. Luckily for Yeovil, Sarah Wiltshire was there to slot home the rebound, giving the hosts an early lead.
For the remainder of the half Saints piled the pressure on Yeovil. Goalkeeper Beth Howard pulled off a fantastic fingertips save to deny Charley Evans, whilst Ella Pusey hit the post, meaning the hosts maintained their one goal lead going into the break.
Southampton were finally rewarded for their efforts just three minutes into the second half when Pusey found the back of the net against her old team to bring the game level. The Saints attacking threat continued to build throughout the half, and with Yeovil having very few chances at scoring again, they looked to wrap up the game in regular time. However, Yeovil’s defence worked well together to hold them off, forcing the game into extra time.
Despite Yeovil’s good defensive work at the end of regular time, they were able to stop Southampton from scoring again. Sophia Pharoah was able to latch onto a loose ball just 10 minutes into extra time and ensured the visitors progressed to the next round of the cup.
Southampton remain unbeaten in all competitions this season, and hope to replicate this win against Yeovil Town again on Sunday, when they face each other in the FA Cup.
Photo: Isabelle Field