Extra-time defeat for Blues against Brighton
Pompey Ladies exited the Premier League Cup at the preliminary round stage with an extra-time defeat to Brighton.
They reached the semi-finals of last season’s competition, but were unable to repeat that run, despite forging ahead at Privett Park.
The Blues dominated possession in the first half, with Lucy Quinn and Ini Umotong both going close before the latter broke the deadlock on 24 minutes.
Umotong collected a pass from Gemma Hillier and although her first attempt was blocked, she reacted quickly to head home the loose ball.
Both sides had chances before the interval, but it was Brighton who found the target after it, with Kate Natkiel taking advantage of some hesitant defending to steer a shot into the bottom corner.
The hosts had a chance to win the tie right at the death, but Umotong’s fierce close-range drive cannoned back off the crossbar.
Instead, it was the visitors who secured their place in the first round proper, thanks to two strikes in the first period of extra-time.
It was Charlotte Gurr who got them both, first latching onto a poor back-pass to slide the ball past Sadie Blakely and then beating the Pompey keeper with a delicate chip.
Blues boss Perry Northeast said: “It was a great game of football between two top sides and they just edged us in extra-time.
“We took the lead, but Brighton came back into it after the break and their third goal was a sublime chip – sometimes you just have to credit the scorer.
“Ini had actually hit the bar just before the end of the 90 minutes, although unfortunately it wasn’t to be. But I can’t fault the way we approached the contest.
“The League Cup was never our priority and perhaps going out of the competition could be a blessing in disguise.
“We don’t start in the FA Cup until January, so that gives us a couple of months to knuckle down and concentrate on the league.”
Pompey: Blakely; Taylor (Frampton 75), Rutherford, Atkinson, Bazan (Bloomfield 90); Kempson, Sievwright, Simmonds, Quinn; Hillier (Wilson 67), Umotong
Subs not used: James, Currie