Luton Town Ladies eased through to the quarter-finals of the FA Women’s Premier League Plate competition with a 3-1 home win over Southampton Saints Girls & Ladies on Sunday.
Manager Nikki Baker made two changes from last week’s FA Cup defeat, Amy Summerfield returning in defence and striker Tash Fensome making her first start since coming back to the club.
The hosts started the better, Jess McKay smashing against the bar from distance, while Dionne Manning’s cross was just prevented from reaching Fensome.
Town stopper Kezia Hassall kept the scores goalless when she expertly narrowed the angle and that proved crucial with Luton going ahead on 25 minutes.
A long ball was chased by Nicola Henman who did well to beat the oncoming keeper and tee up Fensome who fired into the bottom corner.
Minutes later, Town doubled their lead when Lisa Nixon found Manning who beat two players and found McKay to slot home.
Five minutes into the second half, it looked like the game was up, McKay hammering into the net from 30 yards.
Rachel Carter came off the bench after a long absence due to a head injury and she went to the left back position.
On the hour mark, Saints pulled a goal back after a free kick wasn’t cleared properly, give Hassall no chance.
However, Luton didn’t buckle and Henman’s header hit the bar, with Rachel Kosky’s close range shot superbly saved by the Saints keeper.
The visiting stopper was called into action again straight away as Fensome outpaced three defenders, while she was also denied by the post, with Zara Carroll’s free kick hitting the bar too.
Baker said: “We did the simple things well.
“We moved the ball with pace and controlled the game from the off.
“We did the nasty stuff really well on a tough pitch and defended well as a unit.
“Tash made a great impact on her first start since her return to the club and I also though Rachel Kosky was outstanding at centre back.
“They are lucky we didn’t stick five or six on them as we had multiple chances, but a win is a win in the cup.”
McKay added: “We played some great football on a pitch that wasn’t ideal.
“It was a very positive team performance and was great to welcome back our skipper after her injury.”
Hatters are in County Cup action this weekend as they travel to Woburn & Wavendon Ladies.