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Women's Football News
Southampton Saints 1 University of Portsmouth 2
University of Portsmouth Community WFC recorded a vital away win in their South West Combination match against Southampton Saints to narrow the gap at the bottom of the table.
The fixture survived the deluge by virtue of being played on the 4G pitch at Test Park and Uni gained a deserved three points with a committed and composed performance, despite having only ten players for final twenty minutes after an injury to the scorer of the winning goal, Gemma Green.
Pompey looked comfortable right from the start, moving the ball confidently and finding Green and Michelle Niven on the wings to good effect. Hannah Haughton in the home goal denied Niven on 18 minutes with a good save but Uni took the lead a minute later when Niven, played in on the left by another through pass, lobbed the keeper and the ball just beat Beth Whitehorn's attempt to clear.
Saints responded well and dominated the next twenty minutes. Rosie Dimery saved well from Saints skipper Krystal Whyte then Roxy Lee Stewart made a dangerous run, ending with Whyte netting but from an offside position. A lofted Leah Shave free kick beat Dimery but was well cleared off the line as Saints went very close to the equaliser.
Niven nearly doubled the lead just before half time. Once again through on goal on the left, her lobbed shot grazed the angle of post and bar so the visitors took just a single goal advantage to the break.
Whyte was inches away from equalising straight from the restart as a defensive slip allowed her to shoot inches wide from 20 yards. Whitehorn had a long range effort turned away for a corner with difficulty by Dimery but Saints were level on 59 minutes when a free kick was headed against the bar by Kat Littleboy and Lucy Harper reacted quickest to nod home the rebound.
Parity lasted all of 30 seconds as Uni regained the lead almost from the restart. Green, picking up the ball 35 yards out, went past a defender before drilling a low shot into the bottom right corner for a fine solo effort. The scorer had to come off injured when in collision with keeper Haughton in going for a loose ball right in front of goal and Uni, with no substitutes available, were forced to see out the match a player short.
As conditions worsened with a gale force wind and rain sweeping across the pitch, the visitors showed great composure in resisting Saints' increasingly desperate attempts to salvage a point. Substitute Georgina Axton made some telling runs down the left but no Saints head or foot met the crosses. In truth, despite the pressure, Southampton never really created a clear cut opportunity and the work of Niven and Lacey Plumbley in holding up the ball from clearances allowed their team to regain shape. After lengthy additional time, Uni were able to celebrate a sweet victory over a hard working young Saints team.
Another crucial match is scheduled for next week, when Saints host Newquay with both teams locked on nine points whilst Uni, four points behind but with games in hand on the Cornish team, will surely take great heart from a brave and skilful showing by all eleven players on the day.
Southampton Saints: Hannah Haughton, Beth Whitehorn, Megan Richmond, Liberty Pritchard, Kat Littleboy, Lucy Harper, Bex Davis, Roxy-Lee Stewart, Krystal Whyte, Amber Siley, Leah Shave. Subs: Sheriden Palk, Allana Falconer, Eilidh Currie, Catherine Browning, Georgina Axton.
University of Portsmouth: Rosie Dimery, Rebecca Deacon, Bex Ingram, Lauren Paul, Louisa Cambridge, Michelle Niven, Gemma Green, Sarah Stubbs, Naomi Green, Laura Newsome, Lacey Plumbley.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Lucy Harper clears from Lacey Plumbley
(middle) Bex Davis holds off a challenge from Michelle Niven
(bottom) Rebecca Deacon takes on Georgina Axton
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