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Pompey Women 5 Cheltenham 0

Blues start season with thumping win

20 August 2023


Pompey Women 5 Cheltenham 0

Blues start season with thumping win

20 August 2023

Sophie Quirk hit a hat-trick as Pompey Women began their new era as a semi-professional side with a comfortable victory over Cheltenham at Westleigh Park.

Beth Lumsden marked her first competitive appearance for the club with a goal, while Ava Rowbotham also found the target.

But Izzy Collins was dismissed following a clash in the second half that saw both sides reduced to 10 players.

Jay Sadler handed debuts to summer signing Riva Casley and Lumsden, while there was also a start for the returning Leeta Rutherford.

The hosts showed their attacking intent right from the start and there were early sighters for Lumsden and Emma Jones.

Quirk then found space on the left to get forward before cutting onto her right foot and drilling narrowly past the post.

But last season’s top scorer did break the deadlock on 10 minutes, with QUIRK collecting an incisive Annie Rolf pass, rounding Aimee Watson and slotting into an empty net.

Watson prevented the visitors from falling further behind by denying Lumsden, while Jessie Taylor hacked the loose ball clear.

The Blues did double their advantage midway through the half, however, as QUIRK feigned to shoot before cutting back and firing into the bottom corner.

They kept pushing forward and when Lumsden found Rowbotham, the midfielder’s effort was smartly saved by Watson.

And the keeper also managed to get to Nicole Barrett’s delivery before Rolf could convert it at the back post.

Cheltenham tried to hit back, but skipper Hannah Haughton was not overly troubled by Phoebie Poole’s effort.

Instead it was the Blues who scored again in stoppage-time, when the ball fell invitingly for LUMSDEN to hit home from 25 yards.

Half Time: Pompey 3 Cheltenham 0

The hosts were not prepared to sit on their lead when the action restarted and soon began to apply pressure.

Quirk’s attempt was turned around the post by Watson and the same player than fired inches wide following good work from Jones.

But both sides received a red card on 68 minutes, as an off-the-ball clash between Collins and Charlotte Buxton led to each player receiving their marching orders.

Pompey shrugged that off, though, and extended their advantage through ROWBOTHAM, who made the most of Quirk’s cut-back.

And QUIRK netted herself moments later to complete a treble, surging forward from the halfway line before curling a shot into the net.

That was the cue for her and Lumsden to put their feet up, as Ella Humphrey and Emily Pitman were brought on – the latter for her debut.

And fellow substitute Jazz Younger made sure of the clean sheet right at the death with a fine challenge on Poole.

Pompey: Haughton; Barrett, Gane (Wild 90+2), Casley, Collins; Rowbotham, Rutherford, Rolf (Lane 60); Lumsden (Pitman 79), Jones (Younger 70), Quirk (Humphrey 79)

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