Pressure is off for Portsmouth Women while stakes are so high for championship-chasing arch-rivals Southampton FC in south-coast derby St Mary's showdown

Jay Sadler told his Pompey Women squad to 'enjoy the occasion' of trying to prevent arch-rivals Southampton FC from lifting the Women's National League Southern Premier Division title against them at St Mary's.

By Lewis Mason
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 2:57 pm

And the Blues boss says his side should be fearless as they attempt to spoil the championship party at their biggest rivals tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Pompey Women head to St Mary's knowing defeat to Southampton FC in what will be the third south-coast derby showdown of this season will see the hosts crowned league champions.

The league leaders require just three more points from their final three fixtures to take the title. But rather than becoming fixated on stopping arch-rivals Southampton FC's championship charge, Blues boss Sadler instead wants his troops to worry more about extended their own fine recent run, which has seen them win six of the past seven games.

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Action from Pompey Women's league meeting with Southampton FC at Fratton Park in December Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

‘The pressure is on them, they're playing at St Mary's in front of what we hope will be a big crowd and they know a win will see them win the title,’ said the Pompey Women boss.

‘Never do I normally say, 'let's enjoy the occasion or play the occasion,' but we've got to enjoy the occasion. There's a lot of talk about that (title-winning chance) but for us it's just about going there, play our game, continue the run of form we're on and hopefully get something from the game.

‘If we win the game of football and prevent them from lifting the title for another week then brilliant but, if anything, we want to continue the run we're on.

‘We can go into this game without any fear, really, we can express ourselves, enjoy the occasion, enjoy the moment and soak it up.’

Pompey Women have been beaten in both meetings with Southampton FC Women this season.

Just four days later the arch-rivals battled it out in the league at Fratton Park, with Southampton FC edging it 1-0 through a late Danielle Rowe own-goal.