Anyone familiar with recent South Women’s League matches between Fareham Ladies and Southampton will know that they are close, very competitive and, particularly away from home, have usually proved to be frustrating games for Fareham. Saturday's match proved to be no different, with Southampton clawing back a 3-1 half-time deficit to draw 3-3.
With the game played throughout in steady Sports Centre rain, Fareham could not have asked for a better start. Georgia Collins intercepted a pass in her own half in the fifth minute and broke away before sending a defence-splitting pass through to Vicky Field. Composing herself, Vicky slipped the ball past the advancing keeper to open the scoring.
Six minutes later Georgia was involved again as her shot from a penalty corner picked up a final touch from Heather Batten to double the lead.
Any thoughts that the game might prove to be one-sided were banished within sixty seconds. There did not appear to be too much danger from Southampton's next attack but Sue Merry [pictured] managed to find some space when the ball was played into the 'D' and finished with a clever deflection to bring the home team back into the game.
The visitors restored their two-goal lead in the 22nd minute. A shot from Heather Batten was saved but the ball ran loose for Rachael Millington-Clark to finish from close range.
Although the score remained 3-1 at half-time, Fareham would have cause to rue the fact that they didn't manage to convert any further chances and extend their lead further before the break.
The opening minutes of the second half offered no immediate clues as to what was to follow but steadily Southampton gained the initiative and they reduced the deficit when Zoe Stride scored from the penalty spot in the 44th minute following a foul.
Fareham were now struggling to re-establish their passing game and found themselves under increasing pressure and an equalizer always looked likely.
It came in the 54th minute when Natalie Romain found herself in space following a penalty corner and she finished with an unstoppable shot.
Southampton looked the more likely side to find a winner at this point, but Fareham had reason to feel aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty stroke of their own when a foul only resulted in a penalty corner. Despite this most of the action was still around the visitors’ goal until the closing moments when Fareham mounted a series of attacks. They came close but somehow just couldn't apply a finishing touch that would have produced the winning goal.
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