Pompey Ladies continue cup quest

Shelly Cox was on target in Pompey Ladies' 2-1 win over Manchester City Ladies
Shelly Cox was on target in Pompey Ladies' 2-1 win over Manchester City Ladies
Moneyfields captain Steve Hutchings Picture: Neil Marshall

Hawks suffer first league defeat of season

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Shelly Cox and Gemma Hillier were on target as Pompey Ladies marched into the last eight of the FA Premier League Cup with a 2-1 success over Manchester City Ladies.

Vanessa Raynbird’s side saw their FA Cup dreams crushed last week with a 3-0 defeat to Yeovil.

But while Pompey Ladies were decidedly off colour in that match, they were back to somewhere near their best with a deserved victory that now sees them face old-foes Barnet in the quarter-finals on Sunday, March 24 – hopefully at Westleigh Park.

Pompey were bossing the game in the first quarter of the contest against City in front of a crowd of 150 at Westleigh Park. And the home side were intent on hammering home their advantage.

Two good chances had gone begging as Hillier fired narrowly wide and Charley Wilson saw a shot whistle over the crossbar just moments before Cox made sure it was third-time lucky with the opener.

Lindsey Roe had her effort parried by the City keeper but Cox was the first to react to the rebound as she fired home from a seemingly-impossible angle.

Raynbird said: ‘I was a bit worried at the time. You see two good chances not taken and the same thing had happened the week before when we pounded their goal but failed to score.

‘Thankfully, the goal settled everyone down and we just went on from there.’

With their confidence building, Pompey Ladies made it 2-0 10 minutes before the break as Hillier doubled their advantage.

Lisa Rutherford won possession in midfield, fed Wilson, who then slid Hillier through to find the bottom corner with an accurate finish.

Pompey Ladies were thankful to goalkeeper Sadie Blakely just before the break as she made a courageous point-blank stop to ensure the score remained 2-0.

City threatened to force their way back into the clash after the break as they pulled a goal back.

The home side failed to clear the lines from a corner as Carley Bayley was on hand to poke home from close range after a scramble.

But Pompey gathered themselves to regain control of the game and looked more likely to extend their lead, rather than concede an equaliser.

Blakely was called into serious action, only once more, while substitute Jemma Tewkesbury might have sealed things but was just unable to turn home Cox’s cross-shot.

Raynbird said: ‘We saw the game out well. It was never very frantic towards the end.

‘But I was pleased with the way we took the game to them. We pressed them all over the pitch and we were the better team.

‘We worked our socks off. The hard work and endeavour paid off.’