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Portsmouth 2 Manchester City 1
Portsmouth claimed a place in the quarter finals of the FA Women's Premier League Cup with a 2-1 win over Manchester City.
Bouncing back from a disappointing FA Women's Cup exit at Yeovil, Pompey were well worth a two-goal interval lead. City halved the deficit early in the second half and pressed hard for an equaliser but were met by a determined and disciplined Pompey team effort which sealed their progress.
Portsmouth started on the front foot and barely allowed City a worthwhile attack in the opening half. In addition they created a series of dangerous situations in the City penalty area, Shelly Cox crossed for Gemma Hillier to have the first effort which Andrea Worrall held. The City keeper then spilled a corner and the ball was fired back across goal for Cox to head just over.
Around the 20 minute mark. Portsmouth had three great chances to take the lead. Cox cleverly played Hillier in but, under pressure, the Pompey skipper shot wide of the post. Charley Wilson then shot high and wide from a tight angle but one minute later Pompey finally scored. Worrall did well to push a shot away but Cox was quickest to reach the ball and fired home left footed from a tight angle.
City responded with a period of pressure without ever threatening Sadie Blakeley's goal and soon Pompey were on the move again. Wilson headed a Kirsty McGee corner on to the roof of the net but soon after set up a second goal. The busy frontrunner spun her defender before slipping a perfect ball in to Hillier who did really well to poke the ball beyond Worrall on 35 minutes.
City nearly reduced the deficit undeservedly with the last kick of the half but Blakely made a fine point blank block from Sarah Danby at the far post.
There was little doubt that City would put up a better showing after the break and that was in evidence early on with three corners and a Nikki Harding shot well held by Blakeley. Wilson went very close to adding to Pompey's lead after good work on the left by Hiller but Worrall made a fine tip over. City got the lifeline they needed from another corner on 55 minutes, Carley Bayley firmly heading in a half clearance from 10 yards.
The visitors started to dominate with skipper Lindsay Savage very influential but the home defence stood firm. The most dangerous situations came from set pieces where Blakeley took charge on several occasions to catch or punch away. Pompey were largely restricted to counter attacks but these were always dangerous, especially with the introduction of Jemma Tewkesbury. Cox nearly settled the match with a volley but the ball was just beyond the far post and the onrushing forward.
City introduced substitute attackers Saffron Jordan on the left and Chelsea Flanagan through the middle and both looked very lively, testing the defenders with powerful runs. On one occasion Jordan fired a dangerous ball through the six yard box without a final touch. It was Flanagan who had City's final effort with a run and shot which Blakeley held at full stretch on 88 minutes.
Portsmouth saw out the final minutes of added time very effectively by holding the ball as far as possible from their goal to claim a deserved victory with a great team effort. They now face a home tie with Barnet, hoping to avenge a narrow semi final away defeat two seasons ago, for a place in this season's semi final against either Aston Villa or Blackburn Rovers.
Portsmouth: Sadie Blakeley, Gemma Simmonds, Lauren Murphy, Kaylee Schumann-Edwards, Jade Kirby, Kirsty McGee, Lindsey Roe, Shelly Cox, Leeta Rutherford, Gemma Hillier, Charley Wilson. Subs: Nadine Bazan, Shannon Sievwright, Cally Beaumont, Chloe Ranger, Jemma Tewkesbury.
Manchester City: Andrea Worrall, Felicity Middleton, Abbie McManus, Carley Bayley, Nikki Harding, Rebecca Lee, Chelsea Nightingale, Lindsay Savage, Danni Young, Krystle Johnston, Sarah Danby. Subs: Kelly McLellan, Saffron Jordan, Chelsea Flanagan.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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