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Portsmouth booked their place in the Hampshire FA Challenge Cup Final with a 12-0 win over Southern Region League opponents Aldershot Town.
The extreme weather conditions meant that only a match on an all weather pitch was likely to go ahead and Hampshire arranged for a 3G pitch at Perins Community School in Alresford to be available. The surface was ideally suited to Pompey's brand of quick movement and short passing and they overwhelmed the Shots from start to finish and, but for a fine display by Lesley Hubbard in the Aldershot goal, the score might have been much higher.
A full strength Portsmouth side took control straight away, Justine Lorton scoring with a low shot in the fourth minute. Cassie Thorp had a shot well saved before Zoe Nash tucked away a neat finish on 13 minutes. Lorton shot wide after a defensive mix up and Molly Clark had a long range effort well saved. On 33 minutes, Gemma Hillier opened her personal tally, Nash tapped in her second shortly afterwards and Clark netted with another effort from distance. Laura Funnell nearly pulled a goal back on the break, but shot wide when well placed.
Pompey carried on in a similar manner after the break, with Thorp scoring her first on 50 minutes. The Premier League side then went on an eight minute rampage, adding five more to threaten a total rout. Hillier's second, Cally Beaumont with a neat header from a Thorp corner, Nash and Hillier for their respective hat-tricks and Thorp, with her second, made the score a rather harsh 11-0 by the 63rd minute.
Portsmouth made three substitutions and Shots brought on Gemma Twine to play up front. Shots showed commendable spirit and continued to attempt to score a consolation as well as defending more effectively with Tara Coles, Stacey Ireland, Sian Houghton and Nicole Hoblyn all making vital clearances and blocks to deny Pompey attackers and Hubbard showing good positioning and handling.
Shots skipper Emma North went close with a fine 30-yard free kick and Caz Shepherd went on a fine run down the left before her dangerous cross was cleared by Lauren Murphy. However, it was Pompey who notched a round dozen three minutes from the end when Hillier scored her fourth from a Nash pass.
The Senior and Intermediate Cup Finals are due to be contested at Havant & Waterlooville's Westleigh Park where the home team will expect to do better than last year's 5-0 Final defeat at the hands of their near neighbours. Their recent form suggests that the Hawks will give Pompey a tough test next Sunday but they will need to keep the dangerous Pompey attackers at bay.
Portsmouth: Louise Worsfold, Lucy Keil, Jade Kirby, Molly Clark, Lauren Murphy, Cally Beaumont, Gemma Hillier, Kirsty McGee, Zoe Nash, Justine Lorton, Cassie Thorp. Subs: Becky Miles, Kim Hier, Rosie Bidder.
Aldershot Town: Lesley Hubbard, Tara Coles, Sian Houghton, Emma North, Holly Gaylor, Laura Funnell, Caz Shepherd, Stacey Ireland, Nicky Moore, Jade Ferguson, Nicole Hoblyn. Sub: Gemma Twine.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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