Pompey Ladies ready for exciting Cardiff opener

Gemma Hillier  Picture: Jordan Hampton
Gemma Hillier Picture: Jordan Hampton
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey Ladies will be determined to ensure there is no repeat of last season’s opening-day woes when they face Cardiff on Sunday.

Perry Northeast’s Blues were beaten 7-3 at home in a disastrous start to the 2014-15 season.

It was a day when Lucy Quinn was wrongly sent off for handling the ball on the goal line.

Gemma Hillier scored a hat-trick but it didn’t yield any points for the Blues, who finished with only nine players on the pitch after Rachel Rigby got injured.

That fixture turned out to be the spark for a sensational run of form as Pompey Ladies crushed all in their path and went on to win the FA Premier League southern division title.

The two teams meet again in the opening fixture this season, with the Blues making the trip to Wales.

Pre-season has gone well. The players are fit, sharp, and raring to go

Perry Northeast

But after winning 1-0 in Cardiff in April and going on to be crowned champions, Pompey are confident they can start well this time around.

Blues boss Northeast is looking forward to the occasion.

He said: ‘It didn’t go so well on the opening day last season but we needed that game for the rest of the season.

‘It spurred us on and we went on a great run of form.

‘Cardiff have strengthened their ranks and we know it won’t be an easy fixture.

‘But we beat them away from home for the first time last season and hopefully we can repeat that.

‘Pre-season has gone well. The players are fit, sharp and raring to go.’

Pompey Ladies have boosted their squad this summer.

Midfielder Gemma Simmonds and striker Jemma Tewkesbury have both rejoined the club.

The Blues play their final friendly of the summer against Chelsea Development Squad tonight at Privett Park (7.45pm).

It is set to be exciting. The FA Super League side have invested heavily in their set-up and have many top young players, including Fareham’s England youth captain Jodie Brett, on their books.

Northeast’s side will hope for a good crowd as they make their return to Gosport Borough FC, where they were crowned champions at the end of last season in May.

No doubt the emotions experienced on that day will still be vivid for the fans, players and staff.

Northeast added: ‘The match will be a good test.

‘We will approach it in similar fashion to a league game.

‘It will be a good game for both sides.

‘We played them in a friendly last season and it was a good test for us.

‘Hopefully, it will be the same this time.

‘We will put a strong team out and use a similar squad to the one we will have for Cardiff at the weekend.’