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The key to their latest success was an outstanding performance by goalkeeper Hannah Haughton with a string of fine saves during the match followed by stopping two penalties in the shootout.
The match offered an intriguing contrast in recent match experience with Southampton having just ended a superb Vitality FA Cup run at the hands of FA WSL Birmingham City three days earlier whilst Portsmouth have been confined to friendly matches after a much earlier FA Cup exit.
The early exchanges seemed to bear out the difference in match sharpness with Ella Pusey testing Haughton in the first minute and Southampton moving the ball swiftly to create danger for the Pompey defence.
However with almost their first attacking move the holders took the lead on eleven minutes. A free kick was awarded on the right edge of the area and Jade Bradley netted a with a superb curling effort beyond the wall.
Haughton was twice out to save at Pusey's feet and on the one later occasion she was beaten to the ball Jazz Younger was on hand to head clear from under the bar. With Shelly Provan prompting down the left, Saints were often able to work openings for crosses but the Pompey defence was resolute and alert to maintain their advantage to the break.
Portsmouth returned with a determination to move higher up the pitch and gain greater control of the encounter but Southampton responded by moving out defence with longer passes towards the excellent Pusey and by getting players up quickly in support. From one such move, Rachel Panting was played in to equalise with a crisp low shot on 57 minutes.
The match became finely balanced as both managers used a range of substitutions to attempt to affect the outcome. Southampton still looked the more dangerous with Haughton once again denying Pusey with a fine parry from a close range drive on 76 minutes and Portsmouth having a couple of scrambles around the Southampton goal area without really testing Kayla Rendell.
Fittingly the final whistle came with Haughton having leapt to catch a goalbound back header but, in truth, the whole Pompey team had worked extremely hard to defy a very strong and impressive performance by Southampton.
Haughton's work was not over. Two fine penalty saves gave her team the advantage and when Southampton's fifth penalty hit the bar Pompey were able to celebrate the hardest of all their twelve successive Hampshire FA Cup wins.
Portsmouth: Hannah Haughton, Rebekah Tonks, Danielle Rowe, Jazmin Younger, Jade Widdows, Jade Bradley, Katie James, Hayley Bridge, Ava Rowbotham, Katherine Cunningham, Shannon Albuery. Subs: Laura Ingram, Abigail Mason, Mia Adaway, Eilidh Currie, Freya Jones.
Southampton FC Women: Kayla Rendell, Ella Morris, Shelly Provan, Rosie Parnell, Phoebe Williams, Ella Pusey, Shannon Sievwright, Caitlin Morris, Lucia Kendall, Rachel Panting, Milly Mott. Subs not used: Kirsty Whitton, Georgie Freeland, Alisha Ware, Sophia Pharoah, Sara Luce.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photo by www.jamesprickett.co.uk
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