Five star Saints inflict misery on Reading to boost promotion chances

It was a fantastic day at the office for Southampton Women, who ran riot at St Mary’s this afternoon with a 5-0 victory to put themselves within one point of league leaders Sunderland in the WSL Championship.

The Saints had a pot full of luck on St Patrick’s Day as promotion rivals Sunderland, Birmingham City and Crystal Palace all dropped points this afternoon.

The hosts kicked things off in great style, dominating proceedings and creating several good chances early on when Katie Wilkinson and Ella Morris came close for the Saints.

It didn’t take long for Saints to break the deadlock when Wilkinson’s thumping header past Emily Orman put the home side ahead after a quarter of an hour, following an excellent cross from Megan Collett.

Reading responded well after going a goal down with a bright spell in possession, posing a few dangerous runs in behind through forward Madison Perry, but good defensive work from Megan Collett snuffed the danger out.

Southampton soon regained possession and delivered a killer blow for the Royals. A sublime backheel on the right-wing from Collett found Sophia Pharoah, whose square ball was finished off by Ella Morris to extend the lead.

The hosts upped the gears and Wilkinson almost added her second of the afternoon when her shot whisked just wide of Orman’s post.

Saints smelt blood towards the end of the first-half, and Wilkinson finally grabbed her second goal of the afternoon when Collett’s chipped cross was met at the back-post to give the home side a comfortable lead at the break.

Pharoah got in on the act early on in the second half after a ricochet in the Reading box fell to the 23 year-old, who swept home to make matters worse for the visitors.

Pharoah grabbed her second and Saint’s fifth with an excellent strike into the top corner, deservedly met with an approving roar from the home crowd who were vocal and supporting their side towards a thrilling race for promotion.

Saints manager Marieanne Spacey-Cale was delighted with her side’s sumptuous victory.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the scoreline. The five goals and the clean sheet are important at this point of the season.

We took our chances, but we also didn’t concede any, so I’m delighted with how we performed today.”

Southampton next travel to seventh placed Blackburn Rovers, in the first of their final four remaining matches of the promotion-chasing season.