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Pompey Women 1 Oxford 2

Late heartache for Blues

16 April 2023

Pompey Women
Photo: Jason Brown

Pompey Women 1 Oxford 2

Late heartache for Blues

16 April 2023

Pompey Women saw their National League title hopes all but disappear after suffering an agonising defeat to Oxford at Westleigh Park.

Carly Johns grabbed a stoppage-time winner for the visitors, who earlier saw Taome Oliver cancel out Dani Lane’s opener for the Blues.

Jay Sadler made a trio of changes from the side that comfortably won at Cheltenham seven days earlier.

Nicole Barrett, Ella Humphrey and Anaisa Harney all came into the starting line-up, with Ella Wild, Ava Rowbotham and Tierney Scott making way.

They almost got off to a disastrous start, as Evie Gane was penalised for tripping Johns in the area with just a few seconds on the clock.

But Hannah Haughton came to the rescue, getting down to her left to repel Daisy McLachlan’s spot-kick.

A chance to forge ahead then came about soon after, when Humphrey collected Sophie Quirk’s cut-back, turned and fired past the post.

The Blues were indebted to Haughton once more, though, with the keeper denying Johns from point-blank range.

United then thought they had broken the deadlock when Oliver finished, but the officials spotted that the ball had gone out of play in the build-up.

Humphrey fired over at the other end, while she then picked out Annie Rolf, whose shot flew narrowly off target.

Both sides were looking dangerous in an absorbing contest and the visitors were next to go close, with Haughton equal to McLachlan’s drive from the edge of the box.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Oxford 0

Oxford were first to threaten once the action restarted, as Jenna Legg’s audacious long-range strike grazed the top of the net.

But it was the Blues who finally opened the scoring on 56 minutes, as LANE rose to convert an inch-perfect delivery from skipper Danielle Rowe.

Their joy was short-lived, though, with the scores levelled almost immediately, courtesy of a glancing Oliver header.

Johns then tried to chip the alert Haughton, who got just enough on the ball to divert it over the crossbar.

Rose Kite soon denied Barrett, as the action continued to switch from one end to the next without stopping to draw breath.

The clear-cut chances did begin to dry up as the final whistle drew closer, with the importance of the occasion perhaps getting to both sides.

However, just when it looked like the spoils would be shared, Johns collected the ball inside the box and curled a shot into the top corner.

Pompey desperately tried to hit back in the final few seconds, but Kite caught Quirk’s effort to halt hopes of any more late drama.

Pompey: Haughton; Rowe (c), Younger, Gane, Barrett; Hall, Lane, Rolf; Humphrey (Scott 72), Harney (Jones 72), Quirk
Subs not used: Wild, Macdonald, Bell

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