Pompey score five to see off stubborn Blackburn
Pompey Ladies won a nine-goal thriller at Blackburn to progress to the fourth round of the FA Women’s Cup.
An Ini Umotong hat-trick helped the Blues triumph 5-4 to set up a home clash with either Lowestoft or Super League outfit Millwall.
It was Umotong who fired the visitors ahead early on when she converted a Lucy Quinn cross from close range.
But Rovers hit back to equalise through a looping header from Sophie Jones that bounced in off the underside of the crossbar.
Pompey then restored their advantage, as Charley Wilson latched on to Ellie Bloomfield’s flick and beat the offside trap before sliding the ball home.
Again, though, Blackburn hit back immediately, as Jones rose highest at the far post to head Jess Holbrook’s free-kick past Sadie Blakely.
The action continued in the second half and the Blues took the lead for a third time just after the restart when a corner was only partially cleared and the ball was sent back into the box for Molly Clark to nod home.
And this time they were able to strengthen their grip on the tie, with Umotong’s cross-shot deceiving everyone and nestling in the net.
Georgia Stanway then scored on the counter-attack to reduce Rovers’ deficit before Umotong completed her hat-trick with a cool finish.
Holbrook ensured a nervy end to the game when she netted in the closing stages, but Pompey held on to secure their progress.
Blues boss Perry Northeast said: “It was a crazy game of football and all the players out on that pitch gave absolutely everything.
“We kept taking the lead, but Blackburn just wouldn’t lie down and accept defeat. They more than played their part in a fantastic cup tie.
“They’re in a similar position to us in the northern section of the Premier League, so it was always going to be a close contest.
“But I learnt a lot from my players about just how much it means to them to play for Pompey.
“There’s still plenty for us to work on in training, but we’ll go into our League Cup quarter-final at Nottingham Forest on Sunday in high spirits and full of confidence.
“In terms of the FA Cup, you would expect Millwall to beat Lowestoft and it would be great to test ourselves against a Super League side, but you never know what can happen in knock-out football.”
Pompey: Blakely; Frampton, Rutherford, Currie, Bazan; Sievwright (Clark 46), Bloomfield (Dark 76), Kempson, Quinn (Hillier 67); Wilson, Umotong