Blues beaten by leaders Brighton
Pompey Ladies missed out on the chance to gain ground on the Premier League Southern Division leaders with a 3-2 defeat to Brighton at Privett Park.
They fell behind after just seven minutes when Kate Natkiel cut inside from the right and drilled a shot into the far corner.
But the Blues were soon level, as Ini Umotong stole possession and fired past Seagulls stopper Faye Baker from an acute angle.
There were not many more opportunities in a scrappy first half, but Brighton restored their lead after the interval.
The hosts failed to properly deal with a corner and Lucy Soames was able to hook the ball home from close range.
Pompey came close to equalising again, with Lucy Quinn whipping in a free-kick that clipped the outside of the post.
But Brighton had a two-goal cushion on 78 minutes when Amy Taylor converted Sophie Perry’s low cross.
New arrival Emma Sherwood poked home an indirect free-kick in stoppage-time to reduce the deficit on her debut, but there was no time to mount a comeback.
Blues boss Perry Northeast said: “It’s a huge blow because that’s now twice in three weeks that we’ve lost to them.
“The first one in the cup could have gone either way, but this time around it was a bit different and Brighton deserved the three points.
“It was a good bit of opportunism from Ini to get the equaliser – she created the goal for herself out of nothing.
“Emma scored on her debut and was full of energy, so I’m sure she’ll prove to be a good signing for us.
“But we were never really on top of the game and didn’t do enough to justify getting anything from it.
“We weren’t quite connecting and the passing wasn’t as fluent as it has been in recent matches, while Brighton were pressing us high up the pitch.
“Last year we were the best side in the league and won the title, but we’re not at the moment.
“Other teams have caught us up, so we need to get back to the drawing board and work out how to make that step up.
“We’ve got a couple of tough away games coming up now and we want to respond in a positive manner – both in terms of performance and result."
Pompey: Beazley; Frampton (Bazan 54), Atkinson (Tewkesbury 78), Rutherford, Taylor; Sievwright, Kempson (Sherwood 60), Clark, Quinn; Hillier, Umotong
Subs not used: Trodd, Bloomfield