The FA Cup is a tournament like no other. It brings people far and wide together as well as bringing some much-needed airtime to charities and local businesses.
This season, there has been some amazing journeys by what many would class the smaller teams. Southampton FC were one side who have everything they had right down to the final whistle. Quite literally.
Though they lost on penalties in the fifth round, they will be remembered for a giant killing along the way.
A few facts
- The Saints currently play in the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier
- Currently third with five games in hand over their rivals
- Play their games at Snows Stadium which belongs to local side AFC Totton
- The club is one for four clubs to be given a tier one plus in RTC
- Midfielder Lucia Kendall was the only FAWNL to be called up to the England Lionesses U23 and Development squads during the most recent international window
Southampton started out their FA Cup journey on November 14th with a 1-0 victory over Swindon Town. New Zealand international Lucia Rood scored the only goal of the game but it was enough to see them into the next round.
Two weeks later, the Saints faced off against South West Regional Women’s Football League Premier Division side Ilminster Town (based in Somerset).
Southampton won 7-0 with goals coming from Sophia Pharoah, Leeta Rutherford, Georgie Freeland, Ella Morris and a debut strike from Sky Bedwell.
The FA Cup draw always brings some surprises. There is no FA Cup without rivals going head-to-head, and when the draw was made the Saints faced off against their fiercest rivals, Portsmouth.
It took Pompey 31 minutes to open the scoring through Cherelle Khassal. But Southampton hit back and scored the equaliser through Lucia Kendall in the 65th minute.
Forcing the game into extra-time, the Saints won the game thanks to Morris in the 112th minute.
With the dream still alive, the Saints drew a very tasty tie against former WSL members Bristol City at home. Where better to host such a magnificent tie than the home of the men’s team?
The game was end to end at St Mary’s and was won in dramatic style. Southampton snatched the win thanks to the hero of the previous round — Morris again in extra time.
When the draw was made, it was a team Southampton know quite well from their own league, Ipswich Town.
With the game ending 0-0 after 90 minutes, it was going to be an interesting period of extra time.
It took Ipswich Town 109 Minutes to score the first goal of the game from Anna Grey, but the moment was snatched in spectacular fashion. A twist in the tale saw Saints goalkeeper Kayla Rendell net the equaliser from a last-minute corner to force the match to penalties.
Despite the euphoric moment, it wasn’t enough to carry Southampton through into the next round. Facing the dreaded spot-kicks, they were knocked out of the competition 4-2 in the shootout.
But the story will live on. Southampton have been an admiration to watch and they will no doubt ride on their admirable efforts for the rest of the season.