FULHAM ROCK THE SAINTS IN LEAGUE CUP
By Gary Mulcahey
FULHAM 9 v 1 SOUTHAMPTON
This quarter-final League cup-tie was eventually played a month after its scheduled date, and Fulham performed as well as they have done all season.
Playing their first game at their "new" adopted home of Woking FC, on a bitterly cold December day, the Ladies had to be patient in their build-up as the referee failed to arrive and a local official was found living nearby!
Once the game kicked off Fulham began slowly with few chances created. Southampton were well organised and veteran Lynn Armstrong having the unenvious task of marking Pettersen.
The strategy was successful for 20 minutes with Fulham only causing problems from corners, Petersen going close with a fine header.
The deadlock was broken on 23 minutes when a clumsy trip on Katie Chapman just inside the box resulted in a penalty. Margunn Haugenes, shouldered the responsibility and placed a good shot high into the corner.
Minutes later the lead was doubled with a great cross from the boot of Yankey and the in-form Pettersen rose at the back post to head home emphatically.
The Black & Whites passing game was now showing through. New signing Astrid Johannesson was making her debut in the Fulham goal and her long kicks proved a threat as twice Yankey and Moore went through after flick-ons by Marianne Pettersen. Just before the break the game was over when Yankey volleyed home superbly from 15 yards and Rachel McArthur, playing against her former club, scrambled home Fulham's fourth.
The second half was dominated by some crisp football from Fulham and it certainly warmed the crowd of nearly 200 people.
Kristy Moore hit the post, and Pettersen had a goal disallowed for offside, before Fulham scored their fifth.
On 55 minutes after a string of consecutive corners, England international Katie Chapman scored here 22nd goal of the season with a great header. Two goals on the hour mark, saw Pettersen score her second and third goals, after a through ball by McArthur she rounded the keeper, and good work by Haugenes saw Pettersen turn and swivel for her hat-trick. Pettersen is in fine form this season it will take some good defending to keep her from scoring over 50 goals this season!
Rachel McArthur slotted home number eight with a well-struck shot after good work by Moore and Pettersen.
Southampton scored a consolation goal by Una Nwajei, who lifted the ball over the advancing Johannesson for a good finish; it was a goal well deserved by Nwajei who had worked tirelessly for Southampton all game.
Rahman and Gibbons were introduced to the game for Moore and Terp with about 15 minutes to go and both players had good attempts to score late on in the game.
Pettersen scored her fourth with another header, but missed the easiest chance of the game, missing an open goal from 18 yards as the Saints keeper Ruth Little was left stranded.
Fulham's performance was excellent against a Saints side that is not in the habit of conceding this many goals.
With big wins over three Premier Division sides in this competition, Leeds Utd, Charlton Athletic and now Southampton, it now leaves the biggest test of all in the semi-final - a plumb tie with undefeated Arsenal. A game all eyes on women's football will watch with interest!