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Newcastle 2 Pompey Women 1

Semi-final heartache for Blues

25 February 2024


Newcastle 2 Pompey Women 1

Semi-final heartache for Blues

25 February 2024

A late goal saw Pompey Women narrowly beaten by Newcastle in the semi-finals of the National League Cup at St James’ Park.

Emma Jones had struck midway through the second half to cancel out a Charlotte Potts opener, but Georgia Gibson scored at the death to send the Geordies through.

Jay Sadler stuck with the same line-up that hit seven goals past Chatham without reply in the league the previous week.

It was always likely to be a close contest – watched by a crowd of more than 22,000 – between the sides currently topping the Southern and Northern Divisions.

And that proved to be the case in an entertaining opening period, which saw chances arrive at both ends of the pitch.

The visitors were first to threaten when the ball was slipped through to Jones, who saw her low effort saved by Grace Donnelly.

Their opponents then looked to hit back, with Potts nodding just wide before Gibson forced Hannah Haughton into action.

And the Blues keeper made an even better stop on 16 minutes to keep out a close-range Potts header from Tyler Dodds’ corner.

The action soon switched to the opposite end and after a low Riva Casley shot was blocked, Daisy McLachlan could not keep her attempt under the bar.

Paige Bailey-Gayle also sent the ball narrowly over the bar for United, but it was Pompey who came close to breaking the deadlock just before the break.

Sophie Quirk raced onto Casley’s pass over the top and found Georgie Freeland, who drew a superb save from Donnelly.

Half Time: Newcastle 0 Pompey 0

The chances kept flowing once the action restarted and it was Haughton’s turn to be at her best, tipping a dipping Jasmine McQuade strike against the crossbar.

But she was unable to prevent the home side taking the lead on 52 minutes, as Potts rose highest to meet Dodds’ corner at the Gallowgate End and send a bullet header into the net.

Pompey tried to catch their opponents out straight from the kick-off, although a drilled Jones pass towards Daisy McLachlan was just about intercepted.

And Donnelly then did well to collect a teasing McLachlan delivery before Jones could get on the end of it.

The visitors did find themselves back on level terms on 64 minutes, however, courtesy of a flowing move.

Freeland was able to pick out Ava Rowbotham and she threaded a neat pass through for JONES to calmly slot home.

It almost got even better for the Blues when Quirk delivered a cross to the back post, but Donnelly was equal to the header from substitute Emily Pitman.

Newcastle soon rediscovered their composure, though, and Katie Barker struck the underside of the bar before Haughton showed fine reflexes to keep out a deflected Bailey-Gayle effort.

They were applying some real pressure and another Bailey-Gayle shot was diverted onto the bar, with Gibson’s follow-up header blocked on the line.

But Blues hearts were left broken on 90 minutes, when Gibson managed to nod a Barker cross past Haughton and into the net.

There was still time for them to threaten another equaliser deep into stoppage-time, although Jones could not quite get a shot away as United held on to book their place in the final.

Pompey: Haughton (c); Barrett (Wild 90+5), Lane, Casley, Collins (Humphrey 90+5); Rowbotham (Hall 75), Rutherford, Freeland (Rolf 90+5); McLachlan (Pitman 62), Jones, Quirk

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