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Crawley Wasps 1 Portsmouth 2
Portsmouth have set up an intriguing FAWNL League Cup quarter final tie against Southampton FC with a convincing away performance against Crawley Wasps at Sussex FA Headquarters in Lancing.
A fine Pompey team effort restricted Wasps to a bare minimum of chances, whilst a goal in each half was reward for a strong display. Wasps halved the arrears with a last second penalty conversion but it was a case of 'too little, too late' for the Sussex side.
The visitors opened on the front foot and Charmaine True gave them the lead on eight minutes, pouncing on a loose ball to fire home from fifteen yards. Rosie McDonnell was finding useful space down the left and sent in a couple of low crosses which were well defended, whilst Tamsin De Bunsen and Hayley Bridge both had efforts just wide, the latter after a strong run through the centre of the Crawley defence.
At the other end, a couple of Rachel Palmer corners caused some alarm for Pompey but in general, Hannah Haughton in goal was well protected by a strong defence and Wasps struggled to create any clear openings.
Charlotte Owen created the first real opening for Wasps on the restart but Haughton was down well to hold her low shot on 50 minutes. Maria Ledezma-Viso was denied in similar fashion on 64 minutes as the hosts looked to up the pace but Pompey got a crucial boost a minute later.
McDonnell raced away down the left and sent in a lofted cross-shot from close to the touchline which drifted over keeper Lauren Graves and dropped in at the far post to double Portsmouth's advantage on 65 minutes.
Hard as Wasps probed for an opening, it was always the visitors who had control of the midfield, moving the ball with great fluency at times without creating any further clear openings.
As the match entered the fifth minute of additional time, Wasps finally opened up the Pompey defence with a good break and Haughton was penalised as she challenged the attacker. Naomi Cole converted the spot kick but there was barely time for a restart as the visitors claimed a deserved victory and the exciting reward of a home Solent Derby tie in the New Year, a repeat of the Hampshire FA Cup Quarter Final in 2018-19 which attracted a ground record crowd at Baffins Milton Rovers FC.
Crawley Wasps: Lauren Graves, Hope Nash, Rachel Palmer, Ellie Russell, Darcey James, Naomi Cole, Maria Ledezma-Viso, Megan Stow, Charlotte Owen, Tash Stephens, Sian Heather. Subs: Charlotte Young, Niamh Stephenson, Sam Pittuck, Jade Simmons.
Portsmouth: Hannah Haughton, Rebekah Tonks, Rosie McDonnell, Danielle Rowe, Laura Ingram, Jade Bradley, Tamsin de Bunsen, Becki Bath, Charmaine True, Hayley Bridge, Eilidh Currie. Subs: Melissa Burns, Molly Clark, Jazmin Younger, Mia AdAway.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Tamsin De Bunsen holds off Tash Stephens
(middle) Charmaine True is tackled by Charlotte Young
(bottom) Tamsin De Bunsen is closed down by Megan Stow
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