Although they lost at Charlton on Sunday, Pompey Ladies showed they have the quality to launch another title charge.
That’s the verdict of manager Perry Northeast who saw his team edged out 2-1 by the London side.
The way we played was up there with some of the best games we have played and we have done some good things in the past yearPerry Northeast
Ini Umotong’s first-half equaliser was not enough for a positive result in the end.
Charlton stole the three points with a second-half goal from Kit Graham.
However, the performance from Pompey gave Northeast plenty of encouragement.
He is now more confident the squad has enough quality to ultimately repeat their stunning FA Premier League southern division title success from last season.
‘It was one of the best performances we have given in the past year,’ said Northeast.
‘The way we played was right up there with some of the best games and we have done some good things in the past year.’
‘This season we have played worse and won, so it was cruel.
‘That was our best performance of the season and we did lots of good things.
‘It’s gutting to lose. They gave everything as a team and as a squad.
‘We learned that we do have the squad to compete to win this title.’
Pompey created some good chances in the first half.
Sarah Kempson, Umotong, Gemma Hillier, Lucy Quinn and Molly Clark all had fine efforts and narrowly missed out on goals.
Charlton were also dangerous and hit the crossbar before they opened the scoring.
Northeast had no complaints with the officials when a penalty was awarded after Pompey failed to deal with a long ball forward.
But Umotong hit back with a neat goal after bright approach play from the Blues.
In the second half Pompey pushed Charlton back and again were close to scoring on several occasions.
But it was Charlton who took the three points when Graham converted a rare chance for the hosts.
Northeast added: ‘We had nothing go for us on the day – not in terms of decisions, or officials, but things just would not quite fall over the line for us.
‘The way we controlled the game for a long period of time, away from home, at one of the most difficult places to go in the league, showed we are a strong team.
‘We had to respect Charlton.
‘They are the most free-scoring team in the league and they were last season as well.
‘They have some fantastic goalscorers in the side.
‘We were creating chances but we got sucker-punched.
‘They took the one chance they had in the second half and you have to give credit to them.’
Pompey host C & K Basildon at Privett Park, Gosport, on Sunday (2pm).