SAINTS Women man­ag­er Marieanne Spacey-Cale was dis­ap­point­ed and frus­trat­ed after their 2–1 defeat to Black­burn Rovers on Sun­day.

A dou­ble from Megan Horn­by inside 12 min­utes gave Saints an ear­ly moun­tain to climb which ulti­mate­ly cost them vital points in their bid to reach the Wom­en’s Super League.

Saints have slipped fur­ther behind in the pro­mo­tion race. They sit four points off lead­ers Sun­der­land, while Crys­tal Palace (sec­ond) and Birm­ing­ham (third) have a game in hand.

“It’s a mix­ture of dis­ap­point­ment and frus­tra­tion,” Spacey-Cale told club media. We can’t start the game the way we did, once you start like that it’s hard to claw back into it.

“But we did that at the end of the first half. We want­ed to keep that momen­tum in the sec­ond half. For big parts of the game, we played some good foot­ball, but the start has real­ly hurt us. 

“At 2–1, we thought we could get some­thing. It wasn’t to be and that is dis­ap­point­ing.”

Sun­day’s defeat was Southamp­ton’s eighth loss of the sea­son — twice the num­ber that pro­mo­tion win­ners Bris­tol City suf­fered last sea­son.

Daily Echo: Marieanne Spacey-Cale wants her side to respond strongly after Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Charlton

“You can’t under­es­ti­mate any team in this league — that has been the excit­ing thing about this sea­son,” the boss con­tin­ued.

“Every team can beat any­body on their day. That is shown every week. We have to have that men­tal­i­ty to be bet­ter every week. That is with the ball, with­out it and men­tal­ly.

“It is one of those days. They set up a game plan and per­formed it real­ly well. We start­ed to break them down a lit­tle bit but we need to do that more con­sis­tent­ly through­out the whole game.

“The most impor­tant thing is that we learn from this and don’t do things the same in the next weeks. 

“We want to get back onto the coach and back onto the train­ing pitch. The girls want to get back on the pitch and put things right next week.”

READ MORE: Which play­ers will ben­e­fit most from Southamp­ton’s com­pact pro­mo­tion run-in?

Saints are back in action at St Mary’s on Sun­day, March 31 against 11th-place Lewes, who are fight­ing against rel­e­ga­tion.

Despite falling behind in the pro­mo­tion race, Spacey-Cale is keen to ensure her play­ers end the sea­son pos­i­tive­ly and are ready to cap­i­talise on any slip-ups above them.

She con­clud­ed: “We want to regroup in the week and have con­ver­sa­tions about what we could have done bet­ter.

“We can sit in the dress­ing room lick­ing our wounds and feel­ing sor­ry for our­selves, or we can show­case what we are about. The league is incon­sis­tent.

“We know things will hap­pen in the next few games. We have to make sure we don’t allow things around us to take their own lead and we fall behind every­one else.

“We need to give our­selves the best spring­board to fin­ish. Our last three games are all tough. We have to be ready.”