A DRAMATIC late winner from Kate Natkiel crushed Pompey Ladies as they went down 2-1 to Watford.
Vanessa Raynbird’s Blues had looked set for a well-earned point.
But, instead, Natkiel’s 89th-minute goal took Watford top of the FA Premier League national division – with previous leaders Sunderland in cup action.
The final result was a bitter pill for Pompey to take after a good display at Westleigh Park on Sunday.
‘We put in a great performance,’ said Raynbird.
‘I couldn’t fault the way we played.
‘It was very disappointing. We deserved more than what we got – which was nothing.
‘They are top of the league now and it shows there is hardly anything between top and bottom in this league.’
Pompey started the game in lightning fashion.
They struck the opening goal with only just over a minute of the contest played.
Striker Charley Wilson jinked through the Watford defence and pulled the ball back for winger Shelly Cox to slot home.
Watford were shaken and found themselves under pressure across the park.
The determined Pompey players gave no quarter as they hassled and harried their rivals.
Keeper Sadie Blakely preserved the home side’s lead with a cracking double save.
But she was unable to repeat her heroics in the second half.
A Watford corner on 58 minutes was whipped in by Cally Rowell and Blakely could only punch the ball into her own net.
Pompey responded well and came close to regaining the lead.
A cleanly-struck volley from Wilson flew straight into the keeper’s arms.
Winger Lucy Quinn then saw her header agonisingly deflect wide off a Watford defender with the keeper beaten.
And Natkiel stunned the hosts as she fired the ball over Blakely from 25 yards.
Pompey rallied quickly and, in the six minutes of added time, pushed for an equaliser.
But when Gemma Hillier ran through on goal, she could only shoot straight at the keeper.
Pompey travel to Aston Villa on Sunday for their league cup semi-final.
The winners will face Leeds, who shocked cup favourites Sunderland 4-1 on Sunday.