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Portsmouth 2 Havant & Waterlooville 0
Portsmouth took the honours in the Hampshire FA Challenge Cup Final with a hard earned
2-0 victory over local rivals Havant & Waterlooville at Alton.
This was the third Final in a row between these two clubs and Portsmouth's seventh win in the last eight years. Only the now defunct AFC Bournemouth in 2008 have broken Portsmouth's hold on the County Cup since 2004
The Premier League Cup semi finalists scored late in each half to see off a spirited Hawks, who lost keeper Sadie Blakely, sent off after an hour for an illegal challenge on Gemma Hillier. The South West Combination team continued to threaten an equaliser right up to the 85th minute goal by Rosie Bidder which settled the match.
Blakely made two fine diving saves early on from Pompey's Lucy Quinn and Lyndsey Roe but Hawks carried a threat of their own, especially from Lizzie Laws' corners. From one Charley Wilson sent a flying header just wide and another was nodded back across goal but without a final touch. Stacie Murray then found space on the right to deliver a perfect cross but two Hawks players got tangled up when either might have nodded it in on the far post.
With several experienced ex-Pompey players in their ranks, Hawks looked comfortable coming up to the break. However, Blakely handled the ball just outside her area as Hiller threatened and from the free kick, Justine Lorton hit a beauty, which struck the underside of the bar and was headed in from half a yard by Roe for a slightly flattering lead for Pompey at half time.
The second period continued in similar vein but a critical incident occurred on the hour. Hillier beat the offside trap to run clear but was fouled five yards outside the area by the advancing Blakely who was dismissed. The injured Hillier was substituted after briefly trying to continue and Kaylee Schumann Edwards went in goal for Hawks, dealing very well with everything Pompey aimed at her.
Whilst Portsmouth always had a threat with Molly Clark prominent in midfield supported by Quinn and Bidder on the wings, Hawks pushed forward themselves, forcing several corners and testing Lou Worsfold from long range. It took a Quinn run and cross and a crisp finish from Bidder to finally make Pompey safe with a few minutes left.
A pleasing match for the hundred and fifty or so spectators with both teams fully committed to attack and polished performances from both back fours saw the Challenge Cup remain with Portsmouth. The teams renew rivalries on the 16th March in the semi finals of the Portsmouth FA Cup wth the Hawks looking to reverse the trend.
Portsmouth: Lou Worsfold, Lysette Russell, Lauren Murphy, Laura Heron, Jade Kirby, Molly Clark, Lucy Quinn, Lyndsey Roe, Rosie Bidder, Gemma Hillier, Justine Lorton. Subs: Becky Hunt, Kerri Ryan, Lucy Keil.
Havant & Waterlooville: Sadie Blakely, Kim Hier, Becki Bath, Laura Oakes, Kaylee Schumann-Edwards, Lizzie Laws, Stacie Murray, Charley Wilson, Laura Streeter, Jenna Fowlie, Sabrina Morriss. Subs: Chloe Ranger, Sam Stone, Niesha Boal, Jess Lewry.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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