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Pompey Women 2 Hashtag United 1

Blues head back to top spot

14 January 2024


Pompey Women 2 Hashtag United 1

Blues head back to top spot

14 January 2024

Pompey Women fought from behind to beat title rivals Hashtag United and return to the top of the National League standings.

Macey Nicholls had given the visitors an early lead at Westleigh Park, but Nicole Barrett and Emma Jones struck after the break to earn a valuable victory for the Blues.

Jay Sadler made three changes from the side that secured a narrow win at Billericay seven days earlier.

Daisy McLachlan came straight into the line-up after completing a return to the club earlier in the week.

There were also starts for Ali Hall and Jones, with Ava Rowbotham, Dani Lane and Emily Pitman all dropping to the bench.

The hosts got off to a terrible start and fell behind with just six minutes on the clock, with Nicholls rifling the ball into the top corner after Emma Samways had chested it into her path.

It was, remarkably, the first league goal that Pompey had conceded on home soil all season and they were determined to make sure it would not be added to.

They came close to a leveller when McLachlan’s floated cross was cleared as far as Georgie Freeland, whose effort on the half-volley flew narrowly over.

There was a marked improvement as the first half progressed, but Freeland was unable to convert Beth Lumsden’s delivery at the back post.

Barrett’s free-kick then found McLachlan in the area and her strike flew just too high, as the Blues began to apply some pressure.

Jones was the next player to go close, sending a header just off target after being picked out by Izzy Collins on the left.

But Hashtag almost doubled their advantage before the break, with Hannah Haughton doing well to deny Sammy Rowland from point-blank range.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Hashtag United 1

The hosts looked to attack their opponents straight from the restart and a Jazz Younger header was cleared from the line by Courtney Lumley.

It was only a brief respite for United, however, and Pompey did find themselves back on level terms on 50 minutes.

A throw from Lumsden made its way to BARRETT and her dangerous cross evaded everyone on its way into the net.

There was almost a similar goal for Lumsden soon after, but her delivery was just about kept out of the net by Frankie Angel.

But the Blues did take the lead just past the hour mark – and it all started with a long kick up the pitch by skipper Haughton.

The ball was flicked into the path of JONES, who found space to drive forward and smash home a fine long-range finish.

Hashtag search for an immediate riposte and Malika Apindia fired inches wide after being found in the box by Samways.

But Pompey soon had a chance to wrap the contest up when Jones got on the end of a Lumsden free-kick and fired over.

Sadler turned to his bench to provide fresh legs to see the contest out and despite more than 10 minutes of stoppage-time being played, they denied their opponents any further chances.

Pompey: Haughton (c); Barrett, Younger, Casley, Collins; Freeland (Gane 86), Rutherford, Hall (Rowbotham 90+7); Lumsden (Lane 86), Jones (Pitman 90+1), McLachlan (Quirk 64)

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