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Pompey challenge gathering pace
 Women's Football News 18 Sep 2005
Pompey challenge gathering pace - 18 Sep 2005 - Women's Football NewsPortsmouth's season is starting to gather pace and they have climbed into fourth place in the Southern Division table following their midweek 3-0 local derby victory over Southampton Saints. 
Vanessa Raynbird's side are regarded as one of the favourites to challenge for the title, having finished as runners-up last season, and captain Katie Poore told Women's Soccer Scene after the game that she was pleased with the result.
"It's always a tough game (against Southampton), but it was a bit more friendlier tonight than it has been against them for a while," smiled Katie. "We didn't really play our best football but it's always nice to come away with a win.
"It was good to keep a clean sheet, it has been one of our downfalls so far this season. We kept one on Sunday (against Crystal Palace) which was nice, hopefully things are looking up.
"With a lot of girls swapping clubs this year, there's always a lot of rivalry when you play Southampton but it's good for the game. A lot of support was here tonight, which you don't usually get, especially for a midweek game."
Cassie Thorp scored one of Pompey's goals in the victory against her former club, who she left to join Portsmouth during the summer. "I enjoyed it," she said. "It felt nice to gain the respect of the players I'm with now. It's been nice settling in, the girls are really nice and I am really enjoying it at Pompey.
"The team is getting more settled and we're starting to link better. Generally, our performances are improving and team is gelling. I think that Portsmouth are a good footballing team that plays the ball out from the back, and I think we're definitely one of the strong contenders this year."
Things remain tight at the top of the Southern Division table in the early stages of the season but Katie expects the challenges to begin soon. "It's going to get to the point soon where one team is going to get hold of the league and, fingers crossed, that will be us this year," she says. "Reading Royals are top of the league now, they beat us at their place but hopefully when we get them back at Fareham (Portsmouth's home ground) we can get a result there.
"Bristol City came down last year, so they will be a tough team to beat. Cardiff City have pulled out some good results and Watford have started well, and are scoring a lot of goals."

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