POMPEY LADIES are through to the last 16 of the Premier League Cup after a battling 3-2 victory over Yeovil Town.
A double from Shelly Cox and a free-kick from Jemma Tewkesbury – against her former club – ensured the Blues qualified as runners-up behind group winners Cardiff City.
Pompey will now await tomorrow’s draw to find out their opponents, with manager Vanessa Raynbird hoping for a home tie.
She said: ‘We’d like to play someone at home.
‘Now we are through to the last 16 we want to progress to the quarter-finals and onwards.
‘I’m not going to lie, I would like to play a lower-league team and avoid someone like Sunderland away, which is what we are facing this weekend in the league.’
The Blues boss reflected on her side’s victory and insisted, but for a fine performance from Yeovil’s goalkeeper, it could have been a lot more convincing.
Raynbird said: ‘We were 3-0 up and cruising.
‘They got it back to 3-2 and suddenly we found ourselves having to hold on at the end.
‘We created lots of chances but Yeovil, whose keeper is sub for Bristol Academy in the Super League, made three or four fantastic saves to stay in the game.’
She added: ‘It’s not an exaggeration to say we could have been four or five ahead at half-time.
‘But, in the end, we got the job done and it was a good all-round performance from us.’
Pompey took the lead inside the first 20 minutes through midfielder Cox, who reacted quickest after Yeovil’s keeper could only parry Kaylee Schumann-Edwards’ fierce effort.
And before the interval, impressive Pompey, who had put in a dominant first-half display, doubled their lead through Tewkesbury.
The dead-ball specialist curled home from 20 yards, as the hosts looked to have put the game beyond doubt.
Yeovil, who then survived a barrage of Pompey attacks, fell further behind just after the break – Cox was on hand once more to pounce from five yards out with her weaker right foot.
It was a goal that pleased and surprised manager Raynbird in equal measure.
She joked: ‘She hates anything on her right foot.
‘I was thinking “please, just put it in” but she couldn’t really miss.’
With the result seemingly beyond them, Yeovil then threw caution to the wind, adopting a more aggressive, attacking style of play that reaped instant reward.
As Pompey were caught uncharacteristically flat at the back, the visitors scored a quick-fire double to put the result, and the hosts’ progress, in major doubt.
And Raynbird confessed: ‘We got a little bit paranoid and panicky and we were very flat across the back.
‘They scored twice in quick succession and their tails were up.
‘We were hanging on but in the end we saw the game out.’