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Women's Football News
Portsmouth 3 West Ham Utd 1
Portsmouth FC Ladies marked the loss of 'Mr Portsmouth Ladies' David Coyle this week with a moving tribute before the match against West Ham Ladies and with a sparkling first half display which left the team three goals to the good.
The home team were then forced to show the resolute battling qualities for which the club is famous as the Hammers gave a strong second half showing, pulling one goal back and often threatening more. In the end, a Sarah Kempson double and one from former Hammer Emma Sherwood had proved enough to end a sad week on a positive note.
As at all FAWPL matches this week, a minute's silence was held and the West Ham team captain presented the Coyle family with a bouquet of flowers. The pre-match was enhanced by a selection of favourite music tracks and tributes, much appreciated by all.
The Pompey players rose to the occasion with a high energy display. Kempson opened the scoring on six minutes with a powerful low drive from 20 yards into the bottom right corner of Deger Zekai's goal. Excellent link up play and movement created further chances before Sherwood added the second with a lovely curled effort from the edge of the area on 22 minutes.
West Ham forward Whitney Locke had been denied by alert goalkeeping by Courtney Trodd but, at the other end, Kempson added the third on 28 minutes. Zekai saved well from Gemma Hillier on 31 minutes as West Ham struggled to contain the home attack.
Trodd made another good save to preserve the three-goal lead going into the break and West Ham continued to look more determined and threatening in the second half, which was a much more even affair. Locke was playing well for the visitors, taking the ball round Trodd on 53 minutes but unable to finish from a tight angle.
Chloe Burr reduced the arrears just after the hour with a good finish and West Ham threatened through Burr again and substitute Molly Peters, denied by a fine tackle by Leeta Rutherford as she burst through.
The match became an exciting end-to-end spectacle in the final 20 minutes. Hillier and Nadine Bazan both got in dangerous crosses, well defended, whilst Zekai produced a brilliant save after Katie James had lobbed her with a fine first time effort on 79 minutes. Racing back, Zekai somehow scooped the ball away, then cannoned at full speed into the far upright. Fortunately the young keeper was able to continue after treatment, although clearly in pain.
Trodd pulled one more good save, parrying a Peters shot wide of goal as Pompey clinched the win. Both teams can take positives from their performances and it was encouraging to see two young squads trying to play the game in the right way and in a good sporting manner, which was marked by lengthy applause from all after an emotional occasion.
Portsmouth: Courtney Trodd, Sharna Capel-Watson, Nadine Bazan, Leeta Rutherford, Paige Atkinson, Shannon Sievwright, Natasha Stephens, Sarah Kempson, Gemma Hillier, Katie James, Emma Sherwood. Subs: Charlotte Benson, Rebekah Tonks, Sophie Phelps, Brittany Jeal, Eilidh Currie.
West Ham Utd: Deger Zekai, Chantelle Mackie, Olivia Sammons, Karen Ray, Hannah Wheeler, Katie Bottom, Antonia Gregoriou, Amy Cooper, Whitney Locke, Dayna Chong, Chloe Burr. Subs: Molly Peters, Beth Griffiths, Danielle Ritson, Kathleen Clifton.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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