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Oxford 1 Pompey Women 5

Blues produce five-star show

11 February 2024


Oxford 1 Pompey Women 5

Blues produce five-star show

11 February 2024

Pompey Women showed they mean business in the National League title race with a convincing 5-1 victory at in-form Oxford.

Ava Rowbotham bagged an impressive brace for the table-toppers, with Daisy McLachlan, Georgie Freeland and Nicole Barrett also on target.

Jay Sadler made two changes from the side that secured a narrow win on the road at Ipswich the previous weekend.

Rowbotham and Emma Jones both returned to the starting line-up, with Jazz Younger missing out through injury and Emily Pitman dropping to the bench.

The visitors made a fast start and Sophie Quirk brought down a long Hannah Haughton kick, driving forward before drawing a save from Paris Sercombe.

And the keeper came to the rescue once more moments later, this time preventing Jones from getting on the end of McLachlan’s pass.

Haughton was called into action to deny Jenna Legg at the other end, although it was still the Blues looking more likely to break the deadlock.

Sercombe was certainly having a busy afternoon and kept out Freeland’s shot, then saved a Quirk curler.

But Pompey did make their pressure count midway through the first half after Quirk had stolen possession.

She played the ball out to Jones on the left, with a low cross being sent to the back post for McLACHLAN to smash home her first goal since returning to the club last month.

United were not given an opportunity to find their way back into the contest, with their deficit soon doubled.

A cross from Barrett was cleared only as far as ROWBOTHAM, who fired a 25-yard rocket into the top corner.

And it got even better for the Blues just before the break, with ROWBOTHAM collecting Barrett’s cut-back and coolly lifting the ball over Sercombe from the edge of the box.

Half Time: Oxford 0 Pompey 3

If there were any doubts about the outcome of the contest, they vanished within five minutes of the restart.

It was a lovely move from the visitors to score their fourth goal, with Jones bringing down an Izzy Collins cross before laying the ball off for FREELAND to slot home.

Oxford did not give up, however, and Haughton had to be at her best to keep out a long-range Zoe Barratt strike.

But Pompey were not content to see out the remainder of the game and the home side were just about able to prevent Jones from scrambling the ball over the line.

They were still showing plenty of commitment, typified by an excellent challenge from Dani Lane – once again looking assured in an unfamiliar role in the back-line – on Barratt.

United did grab a goal on 76 minutes, with Barratt crossing for Tash Stephens to score against her former club.

They might have introduced a few nerves into their opponents had Haughton not then made a fine double stop to deny Vita Budaieva.

But it was the Blues who had the final say in stoppage-time, when BARRETT collected an Ella Humphrey pass and glided into the box before calmly finding the target.

Pompey: Haughton (c); Barrett, Lane, Casley, Collins (Wild 66); Rowbotham (Hall 71), Rutherford, Freeland; McLachlan (Humphrey 71), Jones (Pitman 80), Quirk (Bowers 80)

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