SAINTS Women’s coach Marieanne Spacey-Cale declared “I’m really excited for the players” but insisted “the work starts tomorrow” after their promotion to the Championship.

Sophia Pharoah scored the only goal in the National League play-off versus Wolves to seal the victory, after the two sides had won their respective regional leagues.

It means back-to-back promotions for Spacey-Cale’s charges after the win at Stockport County, and they look forward to a campaign in the second division starting August.

“You come here and you want you want to put on a performance, and you want to win the game,” she told the Daily Echo.

“We didn’t put the performance on but we won the game, so this is a big step for us as a club. Today we have made the club proud and we have made each other proud. It’s great to think we will be in the Championship next season, the work starts tomorrow.”

Spacey-Cale added: “When you have these long journeys it brings us together. These players put in so much commitment, away from their families, and the families put in some messages for the girls last night, we played some videos from families.

“That is what it is about today, they have committed so much time to be away from them and the families don’t get the respect they should supporting them and driving them backwards and forwards.

“To the families and the club thank you, a brilliant day and you’ll see what next season brings.”

Wolves were reduced to 10 players after Kelly Darby’s first-half red card for leaving studs on Saints players twice.

“We saw it and it was a pivotal moment in the game,” Spacey-Cale added. “It’s always hard when you play against 10 in a final.

“Credit to Wolves – they were absolutely outstanding today and gave us a really tough game even with 10 players, so it was really important that when they went down to 10 we didn’t get excited.

“For the club and supporters it’s amazing so massive thank you to them for everything they give to us, and for me – it’s not about me. I’m just really excited for the players and for the club that we’re onto the next level.

“We really deserve it and today maybe the performance didn’t deserve it but we got the result we wanted.”

Daily Echo:

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article - we appreciate your support in reading the Daily Echo.

Subscribing to the Echo means you have unrestricted access to the latest news, features and Saints coverage - all with an advertising-light website.

You will also have full access to Saintsplus, your new home for Southampton FC tactical analysis, features and much, much more.

Don't take my word for it - subscribe here to see for yourself.

Follow the latest breaking news in the Southampton area by joining our Facebook group - Southampton News - Breaking News and Incidents

Follow the latest court and crime news on our dedicated Facebook group - Hampshire Court and Crime News