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Portsmouth 3 Cambridge Utd 2
Portsmouth found a late goal to overcome Cambridge United 3-2 in a fiercely competitive FAWPL Cup Second Round encounter at Gosport Borough FC.
Skipper Gemma Hillier, with a goal and two assists and Sarah Kempson with one assist and two goals. including the 84th minute free kick winner, were the major players in the win, but Cambridge made light of their lower league status to match the hosts throughout and create several good chances to have extended their early lead in a particularly impressive first half.
Rosie Kmita opened the scoring in the seventh minute, finding space on the left and finishing low past Courtney Trodd. Pompey had gone close through Kempson's 25-yard effort but were fortunate when Rosie Kmita got clear again and curled a shot against the inside of the post from a tight angle on 16 minutes. Pompey wing back Nadine Bazan was fouled as she reached the area after a powerful run on 27 minutes but Cambridge keeper Verity Crook held Kate Natkiel's free kick. A Kempson free kick effort was well defended for a corner as Pompey were frustrated in their attempts to equalise.
A crucial minute in first half added time changed the picture. Cambridge went close to a second when Nicole Perschky set up Laura Baker who fired over under pressure from the advancing keeper. From the goal kick, a super through pass by Kempson was well controlled by Hillier who evaded the last defender before firing past Crook to send the hosts in somewhat fortunately level at the break.
Pompey's Lisa Fulgence sent in a dangerous cross, well defended by Hollie Jardine but, on the hour, Hillier worked her way past defenders to send in a left wing cross which Kempson fired past Crook. Back came Cambridge with a fine build up on 64 minutes, finished with a super controlled volley by Perschky into the top right corner to level the score.
Cambridge continued to press for the lead, a corner flying across goal just needing a final touch, then Trodd racing off her line to put off Perschky when through on goal. At the other end, Fulgence was just unable to convert a Natkiel cross on 77 minutes.
The decisive goal came when Hillier again showed excellent skill to weave past two tackles before being felled just outside the area centrally. Kempson stepped up to fire the free kick past the wall and wide to Crook's right for her second goal.
Cambridge again pushed on, seeking to force extra time. In spite of a couple of set pieces in dangerous areas, the impressive Division One South East visitors were unable to equalise and Portsmouth saw out time very effectively to seal their progress into the Third Round draw after an exciting and even match.
Portsmouth: Courtney Trodd, Sharna Capel-Watson, Eilidh Currie, Vicky Carleton, Nadine Bazan, Rebekah Tonks, Shannon Sievwright, Sarah Kempson, Kate Natkiel, Lisa Fulgence, Gemma Hillier. Subs: Emily Paines, Katie James, Natasha Stevens, Charlotte Benson, Charley Boswell.
Cambridge Utd: Verity Crook, Emma Jenkins, Carrie Bennett, Mollie Kmita, Laura Bright, Rosie Kmita, Dawn Mallett, Nicole Perschky, Becky Taylor, Laura Baker, Hollie Jardine. Subs: Ashleigh Deacon, Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Gemma Croucher.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Vicky Carleton (centre) battles with Rosie Kmita and Dawn Mallett
(middle) Kate Natkiel hurdles a challenge from Laura Baker
(bottom) Sarah Kempson fires home the winner from a free kick
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