Havant Ladies' rise up the South Women’s League Division 3B standings was halted after they fell to defeat in a five-goal thriller with Southampton.
A fine win over Winchester last time out had filled them with confidence but it wasn't quite enough to prevent them from suffering a 3-2 loss to Southampton, who celebrated their third win in four outings.
England 60s star and player/coach Sue Merry took another step towards her 100 league goal milestone with a fifth minute penalty corner conversion.
But Havant were soon back on terms as Elisabeth Allen finished off a move to leave it 1-1 at half-time.
As in the first half, there was little between the teams in and end-to-end thrilling second period.
Southampton emerged from the oranges break on the front foot, their 16-yard presses were strong right the way through to the midfield and defence making it difficult at times for Havant to get the ball through; great er pressure meant the hosts frequently gave the ball away.
Within minutes of the restart, Zoe Stride (who had a spell with Havant) received the ball from outside of the D and dribbled it into the D and with her slick skills drove it around the defence making a brilliant finish to give Southampton a 2-1 lead.
Havant were not beaten yet and came back as strong, with Louise Taylor converting a 51st minute short corner to make it 2-2.
It was all now to play for. Southampton stepped up a gear and every single player worked their socks off. Pressure brought its rewards with Zoe Stride making a great pass across the goal where Lou Hopkins was running to the back post and scored with a perfect reverse stick deflection.
Southampton remained tight with the defence doing an amazing job soaking up Havant attacks, but good communication and team-work meant they were able to hold on to their winning 3-2 lead.
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