Hillier: Patience was crucial for Pompey Ladies in cup final

Gemma Hillier on the attack for Pompey Ladies in the cup final. Picture: Sarah Standing

Gemma Hillier on the attack for Pompey Ladies in the cup final. Picture: Sarah Standing

The Pompey players celebrate winning the League Two title on the final day of the 2016-17 season following their 6-1 win against Cheltenham Picture: Joe Pepler

Gallen: Let’s carry momentum of Pompey title win into opener

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MANY had predicted double figures.

Some of those watching on at the start of the contest were sitting quite comfortably knowing they had 10 or 11 goals in the sweepstake.

It was fair to say Basingstoke Town were not expected to have much of a say in this Hampshire FA Challenge Cup final at Westleigh Park.

But for the Pompey Ladies players, plus manager Perry Northeast and his staff, there was never going to be any room for complacency.

They had to be patient and wait for the goals to come, with Molly Clark and Emma Sherwood eventually netting the decisive strikes in the second half.

Captain Gemma Hillier revealed she was always confident but the team were well aware they had to keep their composure.

She said: ‘Basingstoke really, really played well.

‘They definitely got their tactics right, they knew they had to come and defend and get numbers behind the ball.

‘Credit to them, they just battled for the whole 90 minutes.

‘They didn’t give up the whole time and we found it really hard to try to break them down.

‘It was a tough game, they have got a couple of girls who have played at a very high level and you could just see they had done their homework.

‘They knew they had to follow the players, sit back, soak up the pressure, and that’s what they really did.

‘We were a bit frustrated at half-time that we hadn’t scored but we knew we had dominated possession and we knew we just had to be patient, keep playing, keep positive, and in the end the goals came like we knew they would.’

Basingstoke defied those who expected an onslaught, with a dogged, determined performance.

They gifted nothing on a plate to Pompey, who play two divisions above their rivals.

But eventually the extra quality told with Clark’s excellent opening goal on 48 minutes and Sherwood’s clinical finish for the second in the 72nd minute.

The Blues are back in action at home tomorrow when they take on Forest Green Rovers in the FA Premier League southern division.

They then finish the season at home to Cardiff on Sunday, April 24.

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