Blues beat Hammers to set up Super League play-off
Pompey Ladies secured the Premier League Southern Division title with a 3-1 victory over West Ham.
They only required one point from their final match of the season at Privett Park to secure top spot.
But the Blues went out in style with a comfortable win, courtesy of goals from Sarah Kempson, Jess Frampton and Gemma Hillier.
And there will now be a play-off with the champions of the Northern Division – either Sheffield or Coventry – for a place in Women’s Super League Two on Sunday, May 24.
Pompey were awarded a penalty on 18 minutes when referee Chris White penalised Vicki King for handling in the box.
Kempson stepped up to take the spot-kick and confidently fired the ball into the bottom corner to settle any nerves.
Full-back Frampton then doubled the opportunity with a superb solo effort, showing plenty of determination to win possession before finding the net with a 30-yard rocket.
And the points were all but secured on 37 minutes, as Hillier turned home Charley Wilson’s effort from close range.
Stacey Little soon reduced the deficit after being first to react when Emma Sherwood’s free-kick came back off the crossbar.
It was the hosts who continued to create the better chances after the interval, although there were no more goals.
But Pompey had already done enough to win the game and the final whistle saw scenes of jubilation from the players and coaching staff.
Blues boss Perry Northeast said: “It’s absolutely amazing – an unbelievable feeling. It caps two years of hard work from everyone at the club.
“I’d been to watch West Ham earlier in the week and identified some areas where we could hurt them. We went more direct than usual and it worked.
“It was fairly comfortable in the end and I’m just glad that we weren’t hanging on in the final few minutes.
“The girls were magnificent – as they have been all season – and it was great to celebrate at the end.
“But the job’s not done yet. Now we have this play-off, which is arguably the biggest game ever in domestic women’s football.
“No side has ever won promotion to the Super League on merit, so it’s great that we’re involved and hopefully we can clear this final hurdle.”
Pompey: Blakely; Frampton, Rutherford, Bloomfield, Bazan; Kempson (Dark 85), Sievwright, Clark, Quinn (James 77); Hillier, Wilson
Subs not used: Beazley, Taylor, Currie
Photo: Jordan Hampton
Photo: Jordan Hampton