Lewes took all three points at St. Mary’s on Sunday afternoon in a resilient, hard-working display in the return to league action.
An Emily Kraft header in the first-half was enough to seal a 1-0 win but Sophie Whitehouse in goal took a lot of the plaudits in a player of the match performance.
The Rooks were up against it from the first whistle with the Saints playing a very high-tempo and looking to get the ball forward at every opportunity.
Lewes did well to slow that tempo down at times, trying to opt for a more patient approach.
Eventually though Southampton were presented with their first big opportunity with Ella Morris clean-through on goal, but Whitehouse got a strong hand to it to palm it away.
Saints continued to put numbers forward but a stern Lewes defence stood up to the pressure well.
Shortly before half-time, the resilience paid off when Emily Kraft rose highest from an Amelia Hazard corner to header in superbly past Kayla Rendell.
The second-half started just as the first did with Lewes very much under the cosh.
Somehow Saints didn’t equalise just minutes into the half when Whitehouse was called into a fantastic double-save following a few scrambles in the box.
Moments later Whitehouse got enough on it to deflect away a dangerous cross into the box from Milly Mott which was eventually fired over in the follow up.
Sophia Pharoah was also denied when, following some intricate play on the edge of the box, found herself one-on-one with Whitehouse with the Lewes no.1 once again to the rescue, getting a strong leg to it.
The final big chance came for Southampton when the ball fell to Megan Wynne on the edge of the six-yard-box but she fired it into the side netting.
The Rooks eventually withstood the pressure which included nine-minutes of stoppage time and took home a big three-points in what was just a second defeat of the season for Southampton.