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Portsmouth 3 Chesham Utd 1
Chesham United were beaten in their first ever match in the F A Women's Premier League away to Portsmouth at Havant & Waterlooville F.C.
The South East Combination Champions made the worst possible start, conceding after 30 seconds but recovered well to deservedly equalise on 20 minutes. Portsmouth's greater attacking threat made the difference either side of half time for new manager Perry Northeast but Chesham finished strongly and contributed to an entertaining encounter.
Portsmouth's dream start came courtesy of a crisp Kirsty McGee finish after Gemma Hillier had deflected a cross into her path on the edge of the area. Chesham nearly conceded a second on nine minutes but McGee headed wide from Lucy Quinn's free kick. The visitors gained a foothold in the match and displayed good passing and movement to threaten Sadie Blakely's goal. The equaliser came when Nat Adams used her pace to run on to a headed clearance, beat the back line and finish calmly in the corner on 19 minutes.
For the next 20 minutes there was nothing to choose between the teams as Chesham used the pace of Adams and Kate Bowers up front whilst skipper Shan Woodward and Anneka Nuttall were busy in the middle of the pitch. Adams set up Nuttall whose cross was nearly turned in at the far post by Bowers on 27 minutes.
Quinn, who had a fine match for Pompey on either wing, popped up on the left to deliver a cross which Rutherford converted well with a first time finish from twelve yards on 37 minutes. A great run and cut back by Charley Wilson led to a Quinn shot inches wide, then Gemma Simmonds burst through but her shot was held by Katie McGloin as Pompey went to the break with only a single goal advantage.
The home side tore into the Chesham from restart. Playing down the slope they penned the newcomers into their own half, forcing several corners and peppering McGloin's goal. Efforts from McGee and Quinn from distance both rattled the bar and Quinn was inches away from converting a cross whilst Wilson powered a header just over.
Eventually Pompey got the third goal they deserved. Hillier played a delighfully weighted pass for Quinn's run to beat the advancing McGloin with a delicate chipped finish on 65 minutes.
This excellent goal seemed to have settled the outcome and Pompey used their three substitutes whilst Chesham struggled to find the rhythm of their impressive first half. The chances still mainly fell to the home team with Rutherford and Simmonds going close but in the final minutes, Chesham had a wonderful overhead kick finish from a cross ruled out for offside, then a Bowers header from an Adams cross well held at full stretch by Blakely. A final Nuttall effort after a good run was the defiant final flourish from Chesham as Pompey saw out time with ten players after an injury.
Portsmouth: Sadie Blakeley, Gemma Simmonds, Lauren Murphy, Kaylee Schumann-Edwards, Nadine Bazan, Gemma Hillier, Becky Hunt, Kirsty McGee, Lucy Quinn, Leeta Rutherford, Charley Wilson. Subs: Ellie Bloomfield, Shelly Cox, Jess Frampton, Shannon Sievwright, Louise Lee.
Chesham Utd: Katie McGloin, Leah Asante, Cath Andrews, Amy Fisher, Tash Sandalls, Shan Woodward, Kate Bowers, Anneka Nuttall, Dawne Campbell, Nat Adams, Gemma Fraser.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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