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Pompey Women 4 Rugby Borough 0

Blues move eight points clear at the summit

24 March 2024

Pompey Women
Photo: Jason Brown

Pompey Women 4 Rugby Borough 0

Blues move eight points clear at the summit

24 March 2024

Pompey Women moved eight points clear at the top of the National League table with a 4-0 victory over Rugby Borough at Fratton Park.

There were more than 2,400 present – including John Mousinho and Rich Hughes – to witness a game that was closer than scoreline might suggest.

It was a bright start from the Blues and they capitalised on that through goals from Ava Rowbotham and Leeta Rutherford.

But the visitors caused plenty of problems and looked capable of mounting a comeback until second half strikes by Ella Humphrey and Daisy McLachlan finished them off.

Jay Sadler stuck with the same side that beat Ipswich on home soil – albeit at Westleigh Park – a fortnight earlier.

And it looked to be an obvious decision, as the hosts soon set about applying pressure on their opponents.

They might have taken the lead in the very first minute, but Rowbotham found the side netting following good work from Sophie Quirk.

It did not take much longer for the deadlock to be broken, though, with the opening goal owing a lot to a defensive mix-up.

Saskia Morris hit a back-pass towards Erin Foley, but the keeper had come off her line and the ball rolled straight past her.

ROWBOTHAM raced forward to collect it and managed to slide a shot into the net from the tightest of angles.

That seemed to wake the visitors up, although Hannah Haughton was not overly troubled by a Lily Greenslade effort.

Pompey were soon back on the attack and an audacious long-range attempt from Humphrey dipped just too late.

A lovely passage of passing play then ended with Quirk’s delivery towards the back post just evading the head of Nicole Barrett.

And a second goal did arrive on 26 minutes, when Emma Jones whipped in a corner and RUTHERFORD bundled the ball over the line from close range.

Rather than lie down and accept defeat, though, Rugby started to apply pressure of their own and became the dominant side for the remainder of the half.

Yasmin Mosby tried her luck from the edge of the box and Haughton flung herself to the right to tip the ball over the bar.

And when Dani Lane nodded the ball clear, it fell for Katy Morris to hit a shot narrowly over the crossbar.

It looked like Borough would have a goal just before the break, but a diving Haughton made a superb save to deny Greenslade.

Half Time: Pompey 2 Rugby Borough 0

The interval seemed to do the Blues some good, as they came out for the second half looking more assured.

Georgie Freeland’s pass was intercepted by Georgia Robert before Jones could capitalise, while Foley did well to gather Barrett’s 35-yard free-kick.

But Haughton was then called into action at the other end to turn a cleanly struck Lucy Whipp strike over the bar.

And when a Nicky Potts corner was only partially cleared, Katy Morris drilled a shot into the side netting.

The Blues relieved the pressure in the best possible way, however, by scoring a third goal to effectively end the contest.

Quirk did well to come inside from the left and find HUMPHREY, who hit an excellent shot that flew into the net.

It was a timely contribution from the forward, with McLachlan waiting to replace her before the game could restart.

And the newcomer almost added her name to the scoresheet, meeting a Jones corner with a header that was hacked from the line.

But McLACHLAN did have a goal on 77 minutes, finding the top corner with a fine finish following a quick break from the hosts.

Rugby were again unable to take advantage of another opening soon after, as Mosby’s effort was deflected wide after the hosts gifted them possession.

A raft of late substitutions halted any rhythm during the closing stages, but the Blues had already done enough to secure a comfortable win.

Pompey (4-3-3): Haughton (c); Barrett, Lane, Casley, Collins (Wild 89); Freeland, Rutherford, Rowbotham (Hall 68); Humphrey (McLachlan 64), Jones (Pitman 85), Quirk (Scott 89)
Goals: Rowbotham 4, Rutherford 26, Humphrey 62, McLachlan 77

Rugby (3-4-1-2): Foley; Mann, Robert, S.Morris (Calder 87); Curwood-Wagner (Wallace 68), Wiseman (c), K.Morris (Camwell 68), Potts (Walker 85); Whipp; Mosby, Greenslade (Malone 90)
Booked: Wiseman

Referee: Harry Organ

Attendance: 2,405

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