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Sunday sees the top two teams in the Southern Division of the Premier League meet head on in a match which will go a long way towards deciding the destiny of the title and promotion to the National Division. Bristol City play host to leaders Southampton Saints at their Oaklands Park home and are hoping to attract a large crowd to watch the game.
Saints will go into the match with a lead of four points, but City have three games in hand and a marginally superior goal difference. When the two teams met at Winchester back in October, City snatched a dramatic 2-1 win with injury time goals from Carly Bryant and Charlotte King, after Saints had led through Kelly Baker.
The match promises to be a fascinating and close affair between the two teams which have dominated the division since the start of the season, as well as a possible battle between the division's two best strikers - Charlotte King and Kelly Baker who are tied at the top of the goalscoring charts.
City defender Jo Johnson-Taylor cannot wait for the match to come. The 24-year-old reliable full back, who has been an unsung member of the City team which has risen to the brink of the National Division in the last three seasons, revealed: "I'm really excited about the game, I think everyone is! There's been a lot of talk about it at the club for several weeks now and the team are really up for it."
City go into the match on the back of a 3-0 win at Langford last Sunday and Jo is quick to stress that they were fully focused for that match. "We had a team talk before the Langford game and Jack (Edgar) pointed out that we had to concentrate on that game only and worry about Southampton afterwards," she says. "It worked as we played really well in difficult conditions."
Jo adds that her team have the utmost respect for the title rivals. "Southampton have lost players during the season but their side is still as strong and they are still winning matches. They've got a lot of good youngsters so we've got to be solid and defend well. We will need to be patient as they have a good goals against record but hopefully we can break down their defence. But I hope we're not quite as patient as last time we played them!" she laughs.
One player that Jo and her fellow defenders will need to keep a close eye on is Southampton's highly rated striker Kelly Baker. "We've heard a lot about her - she's their key player," she admits. "She's quick and we will need to keep her away from goal, but I am confident we can do that."
The title will not be decided on Sunday - both teams still have tough matches against third placed AFC Wimbledon and none of the others will be easy - but it presents a chance for either team to strike a psychological blow ahead of the season's run-in.
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