Pompey win away at Keynsham
Pompey progressed to the first round proper of the Premier League Cup with a 3-2 triumph at Keynsham.
They made a bright start, with debutant Charlotte Benson and Shannon Sievwright both going close to breaking the deadlock in the early stages.
And the visitors forged ahead midway through the first half thanks to a fine strike from Jess Frampton.
Skipper Charley Wilson then doubled their advantage, outrunning three defenders to latch onto Sievwright’s pass and fire home.
But Justine Lorton-Radburn reduced Keynsham’s deficit late in the first half, before Pilar Garcia equalised after the interval.
The Blues immediately made changes, with Ini Umotong and Lucy Quinn adding some fresh impetus in their attack.
However, it was Gemma Simmonds (above) who restored their lead on 74 minutes, powering home at the second attempt after her first effort had been blocked.
The hosts poured forward in search of a late leveller, but Katie Cook missed their best opportunity as Pompey held firm to reach the next round.
Blues boss Perry Northeast said: “We played okay, but it’s fair to say that it wasn’t one of our greatest performances.
“The important thing is that we got through to the next round and I’m sure we’ll improve as the season progresses.
“We’re still very much in the early stages and with a couple of our friendlies cancelled, I used the tie as an opportunity to take a look at a few players.
“That’s not to say that we’re not taking the competition seriously – if we keep everyone fit then there’s no reason why we can’t look to do well on all fronts.
“Keynsham did well to get back into the game and caused us a few problems, but I don’t think they can have any arguments about the result.
“We were able to bring on three fresh pairs of legs and the quality of substitutions shows the depth of quality in our squad.
“Now we return to league action against Coventry and I know they’ve got high expectations this season, so it should be a tough test.”
Pompey: Blakely; Benson (Umotong 64), Rutherford, Atkinson, Bazan; Bloomfield (Clark 83), Sievwright, Frampton, Simmonds; Tewkesbury (Quinn 70), Wilson
Subs not used: Kempson, Hillier