'It's the same message which is being reverberated around the whole of women's football' - boss Jay Sadler unhappy with officials in Portsmouth Women's FA Cup defeat to arch-rivals Southampton FC Women

Pompey Women manager Jay Sadler called for an improvement in the standards of officiating throughout the women's game after watching his side exit the Women's FA Cup to arch-rivals Southampton FC Women.

By Lewis Mason
Sunday, 12th December 2021, 5:58 pm
Pompey Women boss Jay Sadler. Picture: Dave Haines
Pompey Women boss Jay Sadler. Picture: Dave Haines

Sadler was angered with two penalty calls his side had waved away by referee Justyn Leonard, while the Blues claimed a second-half scramble had seen them force the ball over the line in their 2-1 extra-time third round loss at Westleigh Park.

First, Sammy Quayle went down in the area after a challenge by Leeta Rutherford in the first-half, although Leonard waved away appeals.

Then, after the restart, Milly Mott heroically twice cleared off the line in the same goalmouth scramble, yet Pompey were adamant the ball had struck her hand in the process while also claiming the ball had gone over the line.

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And the Pompey boss feels the messages are the same at every level of the women's game and stressed officials need to be 'better'.

Sadler said: ‘There were a couple of decisions I’d question. There was a stonewall penalty in the first half, she’s (Sammy Quayle) taken a touch, the girl’s late, taken her down and the referee’s position - he’s even said he’s blocked - in a game of this magnitude in the FA Cup third round we can’t be having that.

‘Unfortunately, it’s the same message which is being reverberated around the whole of women’s football, whether it’s the Super League, Championship or the National League, the officials need to be better - it’s as simple as that.’

Despite the FA Cup exit, Sadler took ‘pride’ from the way his team performed.

They had taken a first-half lead through Cherelle Khassal, only for Lucia Kendall's second-half strike to force extra-time then Caitlin Morris won it for the visitors.

Sadler added: ‘Obviously (I’m) disappointed with the result first and foremost, but really proud of the players - they left everything out on the pitch for the club - I can’t argue with that.

‘I felt we grew into that first half, we were able to sustain large amounts of possession - not create anything clear cut - when the goal went in it was a magical moment for Cherelle (Khassal).

‘Second half we wanted to get the second goal to ultimately kill the game, but as it went on I think we tired a little bit. We’re disappointed but we’re ready to react on Wednesday.’