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Portsmouth 1 Sheffield FC 3
Sheffield FC earned an FA Women's Cup Fourth Round away tie with Keynsham Town after a 3-1 victory at Portsmouth.
Having ridden their luck in the first half when Pompey were at their creative best, Sheffield took charge after the break and deserved their win. Two free scoring teams promised an exciting tie and chances were plentiful at both ends. It was the Northern Division team who took theirs to book another long trip next week.
Pompey carved out their first opportunity inside a minute, Jemma Tewkesbury firing over from point blank range.The visitors were ahead on five minutes when a neat passing move took out the defence and keeper for a simple Leanne De Silva finish. The pace of the Sheffield forwards was always a worry on the break but it was Portsmouth who were denied an immediate equaliser when Jess Horsley made a fine instinctive save to deny Shelly Cox.
After Lisa Giampalma had nearly doubled the lead, Pompey were level from the spot. A Cox free kick was handled and Tewkesbury converted on 20 minutes. The scorer was involved in most of the Portsmouth chances over the following twenty minutes, first crossing for Charley Wilson to go close, then laying on a headed chance which Kirsty McGee sent over the bar. Cox was inches from converting Lindsey Roe's low centre as Pompey dominated.
A moment of Jodie Michalska magic gave Sheffield an interval lead against the run of play. The prolific scorer outpaced the last defender before striking a low shot past Sadie Blakely on 41 minutes.
Sheffield were denied by Blakely within 30 seconds of the restart, an instinctive block allowing Fiona McMillan to clear off the line. Portsmouth never recaptured their fluency and were well contained through most of the second half.
The decisive goal arrived on the hour after a hotly disputed free kick for the visitors led to a fine Blakely save from Kayleigh Mitchell. The resulting corner was cleared but ordered to be retaken, whereupon Michalska netted her second after a scramble.
Sheffield were reduced to ten after Ellie Gilliatt was shown a straight red card for a tackle but made a very good job of protecting their lead. Portsmouth went to a four player front line but were restricted to a couple of long range efforts from Leeta Rutherford which were just wide. Gemma Hillier hit the side netting from a tight angle in the 88th minute but, in truth, Sheffield always looked just as capable of adding a fourth.
The visitors, in their first season at Premier League level, have achieved excellent results and was easy to see why on this showing. Pompey are going equally well in their league campaign but were caught out by the clinical finishing and increasingly assured defending of the winners.
Portsmouth: Sadie Blakeley, Kirsty McGee, Jade Kirby, Leeta Rutherford, Fiona McMillan, Laura Heron, Shelly Cox, Lindsey Roe, Gemma Hilier, Charley Wilson, Jemma Tewkesbury. Subs: Lucy Quinn, Lysette Russell, Niamh Rawlins.
Sheffield FC: Jess Horsley, Natasha Cooke, Ellie Gilliatt, Melissa Cook, Kayleigh Mitchell, Lisa Giampalma, Carla Ward, Kerry Parkin, Leanne De Silva, Natalie Crofts, Jodie Michalska. Subs: Nicole Jepson, Charlotte Bennett, Caroline Whiteman, Lauren Davids.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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