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Women's Football News
Portsmouth have lifted the Southern Division title following what has been the best season in their history to date - and on Sunday, they have a chance to make it even better when they play Sheffield FC in the Championship play-off.
After a largely open title race during the course of the season, it was Pompey who eventually emerged as winners after four teams had been in contention. Cardiff City Ladies and Charlton Athletic could not quite keep up the pace of the top two and Portsmouth beat off a considerable challenge by Brighton & Hove Albion, clinching the title with victory in their last match against Queen's Park Rangers.
The team is managed by Perry Northeast with Katie Poore as his assistant and Charley Wilson is captain. Gemma Hillier was the leading scorer in league matches with 13 to her name but in all competitions, Ini Umotong topped the charts with an impressive tally of 29.
"There are three key matches that stand out during our season," says Lee Roberts. "Cardiff away - a game that we won 1-0, the first time we had ever beaten them away from home. It was a very tight game and a penalty from Sarah Kempson saw us take all three points.
"When we played at Brighton, we won that game 2-0 in probably the hardest away match we faced this season. Nadine Bazan scored her only goal of the season, before Gemma Hillier put the game out of Brighton's reach.
"The home match with Brighton was the game when we started to believe we could actually win the league, Brighton came into the game knowing they had to get three points but Lucy Quinn and Gemma Hillier scored the two goals that gave us the win on the day."
Portsmouth have a strong squad with plenty of experience, although they will be without first choice goalkeeper Sadie Blakeley who is suspended for the match. They are also very strong off the pitch: "There are so many people that have played a part this season, Chairman Dave Coyle and Secretary Keith Bryant has played a massive part in the success in organising games, pitches and officials. Ann and Mick Williams have brought endless energy into the club since arriving after Christmas and they have helped galvanise the club, and we cannot forget the efforts of Vanessa Raynbird who, despite leaving the club, is thought very highly by the club for the legacy she left behind. Barrie Fricker took over as treasurer halfway though the season and he has helped move us forward by organising the club's finances.
"The coaching staff - Ed Filmer, Jason Campbell, Karl Watson - and physio Elaine Parson, all in equal measure, have played their part and without them we couldn't have won the league.
"Finally we want to thank the fans who came home and away to watch us. Ashley Hards travels all the way from London to watch us. Matt and Millie Underwood have helped us, with Millie being the mascot at away games, and Matt photographing our games for our website and programme. We also wish to thank Alan, Andy and Chris collectively and they are affectionately known as the 'three amigos' - they can be heard before they are seen and have helped push the girls on by singing their hearts out."
Photo - Jordan Hampton
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