Pompey Ladies start 2016 with Cardiff cup test

Ini Umotong celebrates with Gemma Hillier. Picture: Mick Young
Ini Umotong celebrates with Gemma Hillier. Picture: Mick Young
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey Ladies start 2016 with a home match against Cardiff in the FA Women’s Cup on Sunday (2pm).

The match has been moved to the 3G pitch at Furze Lane to ensure it can be played despite the recent heavy rain.

It’s nice to start the year with the cup match and we will be putting all our eggs in the basket for a good run

Perry Northeast

After struggling for many years against the Welsh side, recent results have gone in Pompey’s favour.

They beat Cardiff 1-0 away in April with a goal from Sarah Kempson.

The score was repeated at the start of this season with Shannon Sievwright netting the winner in Wales.

Overall, Pompey’s league form hasn’t been quite consistent enough this season to keep them at the very top of the table.

They were edged out 4-3 by C & K Basildon in the league just before Christmas.

So Northeast is looking forward to a switch of focus to the cup and hoping a good run.

He said: ‘We have done fairly well against Cardiff in recent seasons.

‘In the FA Cup we got to the quarter-finals against Notts County in 2014 and to repeat that would be great.

‘Cardiff are on a great run of form.

‘Sometimes that is better for us because everyone will prepare properly and be fired up for the match.

‘This is a one-off game and it feels like the league is a little bit out of reach at the moment.

‘It’s nice to start the year with the cup match and we will be putting all our eggs in the basket for a good run.’

Striker Ini Umotong netted twice against Basildon to take her tally to 42 goals for the Blues in 2015.

She has netted 51 in total since making her debut in 2014.

Her call-up to go to the World Cup with Nigeria last summer was certainly a special moment for everyone involved with Pompey Ladies.

It showed the players can reach the highest level and they can do it while playing for the Blues.

Northeast said: ‘It was great to have our first ever international on the books with Ini.

‘It was really good for her to be selected for the World Cup and to go out there, it was a shame she didn’t get any minutes.

‘Ini just scores goals. It is impossible to describe what type of player she is because she does everything.

‘She is unpredictable and for the opposition she is unplayable.

‘Hopefully the Nigerian coach will be keeping tabs on her and there will be more opportunities for her in the future.’

Pompey’s league match at Forest Green Rovers was postponed on Sunday.

Northeast’s side are fifth in the table, one place below their cup opponents Cardiff.

– DAVID BRAWN