Southampton have won promotion to the FA Women’s Championship following a 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Women’s National League Championship Play-Off Final at Edgeley Park in Stockport this afternoon.
Forward Sophia Pharoah netted the only goal of the game for The Saints in the first half as Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s side secured their place in the elite game.
Southampton started the game the stronger of the two sides and they really should’ve taken the lead after seven minutes but Lucia Kendall could only shoot straight at Wolves keeper Shan Turner following good work from Pharoah. Leeta Rutherford then headed straight at Turner when unmarked in the area before Kendall again forced the Wolves keeper into action.
The Saints took the lead with their next chance. A long ball from the right found Pharoah and she confidently rounded Turner before firing into an empty net.
Spacey-Cale’s side should have then doubled their lead. First, Kendall’s free-kick hit the post before Alice Griffiths fired over from the rebound.
Wolves would go into the break with 10-players, Kelly Darby picking up a second caution, leaving her side with an uphill task in the second half.
To their credit, Wolves came out and put in an heroic second half showing, restricting their opponents to very few chances. Kendall tried to lob Turner early in the half but floated her effort wide while substitute Katie Rood curled an effort off target later in the half before heading wide from a long free-kick moments later.
At the other end, Wolves pushed hard for an equaliser and Tammi George had a great chance to score deep in injury time but she ballooned her effort over as The Saints went marching into the FA Women’s Championship, five years on from the team’s formation.