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Portsmouth 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
Portsmouth completed the double over their south coast rivals Brighton & Hove Albion with a fine 3-0 home victory which takes them level on points with fourth placed Coventry City in the FAWPL Southern Division table.
Three goals in seven minutes either side of the break gave the hosts a margin of comfort despite a spirited display by Albion, who had been forced to reshuffle by the loss to an ankle injury of central defender Cally Beaumont on 25 minutes, which saw skipper Tammy Waine fill in at the back.
Becky Merritt had the first chance for Albion firing just wide from 15 yards on five minutes. Gemma Simmonds had the first two attempts on goal for Pompey but was unable to find the target with either one. Brighton forced Pompey keeper Sadie Blakely to tip over at full stretch on 19 minutes and Charlotte Owen also went very close two minutes later from 20 yards as the visitors looked lively and dangerous.
After the injury to Beaumont and a lengthy stoppage, the match settled into a stalemate until Pompey found the opening goal from a Lucy Quinn corner. Fiona McMillan stabbed a loose ball towards goal and Gemma Hillier flicked cleverly past Toni-Anne Wayne on 41 minutes.
Portsmouth added a crucial second in first half added time when Charley Wilson won a challenge wide on the left and curled a inviting near post cross, well converted with a neat header by Simmonds.
The damage was complete within two minutes of the restart when Quinn, sent clear by Wilson, skipped past one challenge before burying a powerful left foot drive wide of Wayne for the third. Tiff Taylor then nearly added a fourth when set up by Quinn after a well timed overlapping run but was inches wide of the near post.
Brighton never gave up trying to move the ball quickly into attacking areas and dominated possession for long periods of the second half but were met by outstanding defending in depth from a very hard working Portsmouth team. Blakely was protected so well that, apart from a couple of dashes from her line and one punch out under pressure, the keeper had little to do in the second half.
Brighton's best effort was a fierce drive on the turn from Merritt on 75 minutes from 25 yards which flew inches wide of the left hand post. Portsmouth saw out time and gained a victory earned by a really coherent team performance against opponents who played far better than the score suggested.
Portsmouth: Sadie Blakeley, Tiff Taylor, Lauren Murphy, Fiona McMillan, Nadine Bazan, Ellie Bloomfield, Jess Frampton, Gemma Simmonds, Gemma Hillier, Charley Wilson, Lucy Quinn. Subs: Rhia Cox, Shannon Sievwright, Lysette Russell, Naomi Greene.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Toni-Anne Wayne, Yasmin Poole, Cally Beaumont, Lucy Somes, Claire Capon, Charlotte Owen, Charlotte Young, Paula Howells, Kirsty Barton, Tammy Waine, Becky Merritt. Subs: Charlotte Carter, Kim Whitcombe, Amy Green.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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