McGee leaves it late as ladies move up to second

Kirsty McGee, left, celebrates with Charley Wilson
Kirsty McGee, left, celebrates with Charley Wilson
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Matt Clarke leads Pompey out at Fleetwood. Picture: Mark Robinson

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VANESSA RAYNBIRD praised the commitment of her Pompey Ladies players as they moved up to second in the FA Women’s Premier League national division.

The Blues looked set for a share of the spoils at the Manchester Regional Arena after Shelly Cox’s opener and a second half Lindsey Roe effort were quickly cancelled out by their hosts.

But with their superior fitness telling and determination to win clearly visible, Kirsty McGee’s last-gasp strike proved a step too far for the home team, who had to settle for a 3-2 defeat and their first loss of the season.

The win sees Pompey share second place with Leeds and Watford on six points – three behind early pacesetters Sunderland.

That represents a lofty position for a side who are still settling into their new surroundings.

But it’s one that pleases Raynbird, who is delighted with her side’s drive to succeed in the Premier League.

‘I am delighted. Sunday’s result was fantastic for us,’ said the Blues boss.

‘It perhaps wasn’t the best we’ve played but it was a good all-round performance.

‘We worked our socks off and played much better than last weekend.

‘We countered quickly but also looked strong at the back.

‘It was a very physical match.

‘I’m very pleased with the result – we’re now sitting second in the table, which is fantastic.’

Pompey got off to a flying start, taking the lead after just nine minutes through Cox’s wonderful strike.

The home side equalised on 25 minutes, after Niamh Rawlins’ back pass was intercepted.

But shortly after the hour mark, Pompey were back in front when Roe beat the offside trap to side-foot the ball past the keeper.

Once again the lead didn’t last long, with City drawing level on 70 minutes.

Yet Pompey pushed on as they went in search of a winner and it paid off in the dying minutes of the game.

Substitute Sarah Kempson won the ball and put it in for McGee, who nutmegged the approaching keeper to seal the points for the south coast side.