Lewes began their FA Women's Championship campaign with a 4-1 defeat against Southampton in front of a record crowd at the Dripping Pan on Sunday.

They took the lead with a stunning effort from Hollie Olding only for the Saints to hit straight back through Katie Wilkinson.

Sophia Pharaoh then moved Marieanne Spacey-Cale's side into the lead before further goals for Ella Morris and Molly Pike put the game to bed.

After a slow start, Lewes came to life in the 21st minute as Olding dispossessed the Southampton defence before firing home from a long-range to the delight of the Lewes faithful in a crowd of 908.

Southampton hit straight back, however, as Lewes could not clear their lines, with Sophie Whitehouse parrying the ball to Lexi Lloyd-Smith who set up Wilkinson to curl home.

Kayla Rendell denied Olding a second as the debutant ran onto the ball at the edge of the box and fired low before the Saints moved into the lead as Pharoah headed home on 35 minutes.

It was more of the same in the second half as Gemma Purfield set up substitute Morris who volleyed home five minutes after coming on for the Saints.

Pike, who joined from Leicester City this summer, got a goal on debut as Morris turned provider, squaring the ball back for the midfielder to rifle home on 65 minutes.

Southampton, who were without new signing Jamaica international Atlanta Primus, were the only Championship team to score more than once on the opening weekend as they set out their title credentials having finished sixth in their debut campaign last year.

Next up for Lewes is a trip to Durham on Sunday September 3 for a midday kick-off.

Lewes: Whitehouse, Riglar, Cleverly, Hazard, Garrad, Hamilton, Pursey, Farrugia, Grey, Olding, Brasero-Carriera. Used subs: Oakley (60), Blades (72). Unused: Hack, Palmer, Vassell.

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