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FAWNL Playoff-final - Southampton 1 Wolves 0 - Report

Wolves Women missed out on promotion to the Championship as they fell at the final hurdle in the play-off final against Southampton.

Tammi George (Getty)
Tammi George (Getty)

Despite winning the National League Northern Premier Division, with the Saints the winners of the Southern Premier Division, only one team could be promoted as they faced off at Stockport County’s Edgeley Park.

The first major chance fell to Southampton when a free-flowing move opened Wolves up and put Lucia Kendall through on goal. She tried to chip Shan Turner but the goalkeeper got a good hand to the ball to make the save.

Sophia Pharoah was then appealing for a penalty after a coming-together with Emma Cross, but referee Lauren Impey waved away the appeals.

Wolves Women v Southampton women (Getty)

In an entertaining game Wolves then raced down the other end and created a good opportunity. Good work from Jade Cross down the right flank set up Beth Merrick, who had a shot blocked, before Maz Gauntlett almost converted the rebound.

Amber Hughes then had an effort from distance saved before Southampton were handed another good chance. A free-kick found Laura Rafferty but she could only direct her free header straight at Turner.

Just after the 20 minute mark, Southampton took the lead. A long ball found Pharoah who took a touch, rounded goalkeeper Turner and finished into the empty net.

Kelly Darby sent off (Getty)

They should have extended their lead when Kendall’s free-kick from 25 yards was superbly pushed onto the post by Turner, and with the goal gaping Milly Mott blazed over the bar from close range.

A fast counter-attack almost saw Wolves race through on goal before Saints skipper Rosie Parnell dragged Hughes to the floor near the halfway line. Parnell was booked.

On the stroke of half-time Wolves were reduced to 10 players when Kelly Darby was handed a second yellow for a foul on Alisha Ware, when the Saints player attempted a quick transition to spark an attack.

Wolves entered the break losing 1-0 as Southampton were good value for their lead.

Maz Gauntlett (Getty)

An early Southampton chance saw Pharoah latch onto a cross at the near post but she was unable to get a firm connection from close range.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Wolves began to see more of the ball as they searched for either flank, in particular Merrick, who had swapped to the right side for the second half.

Hughes did well to bring the ball under control inside the box and cut onto her right foot to unleash a good effort, which goalkeeper Kayla Rendell was equal to.

A dangerous cross from substitute Ella Morris almost put Southampton back in control as they were inches away from doubling their lead.

Another Southampton substitute, Katie Rood, looked lively after coming on and she almost netted when she met a floated free-kick and headed just wide.

Wolves Women v Southampton women (Getty)

Wolves had a huge chance to equalise in added time. A long cross was headed down by Ali Miller and Tammi George met it, but fired over from five yards under a challenge from a Southampton defender.

In the end Wolves were unable to find a way back into the game as they fell to defeat and missed out on promotion.

Wolves: Turner, E.Cross, Darby, Morphet, J.Cross, Cooper, Price, George, Merrick, Hughes, Gauntlett (Miller, 69).

Subs not used: Dicken, Walker, Elsmore, Burridge.

Southampton: Rendall, Collett (Rood, 75), Parnell, Rafferty, Mott, Rutherford, Griffiths, Freeland (Morris, 62), Pharoah, Ware, Kendall.

Subs not used: Luce, Watling, Pusey.

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