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Khassal wonder goal seals the deal

Portsmouth 1 Ipswich Town 0

Portsmouth finished off their FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division campaign with a hard fought 1-0 home win over Ipswich Town, courtesy of a brilliant 41st minute strike by Cherelle Khassal.

Ipswich had chances to level things up in the second half but Pompey also went close to doubling their lead later on in an intriguing contest to bring the curtain down on the season.

It took 17 minutes for a goal threat to emerge and it was Khassal who let fly from distance, narrowly wide of Sarah Quantrill's goal. The Tractor Girls responded immediately through an excellent overhead kick by Natasha Thomas from Maria Boswell's cross but the effort flew straight at Hannah Haughton.

Haughton was busy again on the half hour quickly off her line to block Sarah Brasero-Carreira's shot but again the teams traded chances as Quantrill was alert to grasp the ball at Khassal's feet on 33 minutes.

It look a really brilliant strike to open the scoring as Khassal moved infield some 25 yards out and curled a right foot effort high into the far top corner, her 26th of the season; to give Pompey the interval lead.

Ipswich returned with real purpose in the second half and created some fine chances to equalize. Thomas had a close range effort parried by Haughton, with Anna Grey putting the rebound wide. Then two fine Lucy Egan crosses saw Grey just denied by keeper and defenders at the far post on 62 and 67 minutes.

Having survived this spell, Pompey were able to gain greater control in the final twenty minutes. winning crucial battles in midfield and defence and launching speedy counter attacks.

Khassal lifted a shot over when clean through on 83 minutes whilst skipper Danielle Rowe hit the bar with a late effort and Pompey saw the match out very effectively.

Ipswich thus ended an excellent season - which saw them reach the quarter finals of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup as well as chellange for the league title - in slightly disappointing style, with the news that Oxford United’s 1-0 win at Gillingham meant that the U’s had pipped them to the runners-up position, whilst Portsmouth finished seventh in a tightly packed middle of the final Southern Premier Division table.

Portsmouth: Hannah Haughton, Danielle Rowe, Jazz Younger, Evie Gane, Sammy Quayle, Ava Rowbotham, Freya Jones, Dani Lane, Hayley Bridge, Shannon Albuery, Cherelle Khassal. Subs: Libby Kingshott, Rebekah Tonks, Rosie McDonnell, Emma Jones, Anaisa Harney.

Ipswich Town: Sarah Quantrill, Maria Boswell, Paige Peake, Lucy Egan, Summer Hughes, Bonnie Horwood, Kyra Robertson, Eloise King, Sarah Brassero-Carreira, Anna Grey, Natasha Thomas. Subs: Leonie Jackson, Abbie Jackson, Eva Hubbard, Lucy O’Brien, Maddie Biggs.