Blues beaten 7-3 in controversial opener
Pompey Ladies’ season got off to a terrible start as they were thrashed 7-3 by Cardiff at Cams Alders.
Gemma Hillier’s hat-trick was the only consolation for the Blues, who had Lucy Quinn controversially sent off.
The hosts, despite falling behind early on, were leading midway through the first half as Hillier (pictured) netted twice.
The first arrived after she collected Quinn’s pass and rounded the keeper, while the second was an exquisite lob.
But the game swung on a big decision from the referee on 25 minutes, with the official brandishing a red card after deciding Quinn had handled in the box.
Cardiff scored from the resulting penalty, had forged ahead by the interval and then added four more in the second time.
It was Hillier who had the final say, though, completing her treble with a predatory finish following some fine build-up play.
Blues boss Perry Northeast said: “I’ve never before seen a game that has hinged so much on a single incident.
“We looked healthy after recovering from a bad start to take a 2-1 lead, but then the sending off happened. The referee didn’t have a clear through and we’ve since looked back at the incident on video, but can’t see a handball.
“They then scored the penalty and, despite our best efforts, we couldn’t quite hang on until half-time.
“Lucy’s such an important player for us and it was a huge blow to lose her. It clearly had a big effect on us in the second half.
“It’s a shame really because we should be talking about a great hat-trick from Gemma, rather than a decision by the referee.
“But the girls don’t get too high after a victory and so won’t be too down after this. We’ll knuckle down in training and make sure we’re ready to go again on Sunday.”
Pompey: Blakely; Frampton, Taylor (O’Callaghan 65), Goodall, Bazan; Bloomfield (Sievwright 76), Kempson, Clark (Rigby 56); Quinn, Hillier, Wilson