Southampton suffer first defeat of season ahead of Hampshire Women’s Cup final with perennial winners Portsmouth
Southampton bid to end Portsmouth’s long-running dominance of the Hampshire Senior Women’s Cup tonight on the back of their first competitive defeat of the 2020/21 season.
Saints had progressed to the last 16 of the Women’s FA Cup, including a victory over two-divisions higher Lewes.But their dreams of an even bigger scalp ended when they lost 3-2 to Super League club Birmingham City on Sunday.Saints, managed by England legend Marieanne Spacey-Cale, had previously won all their matches of a pandemic-scarred season.They scored 19 times in winning their four National League Division 1 South West games - one division below National League Southern Premier Division Pompey in the women’s pyramid - before the December lockdown.Indeed, they have only failed to win one league game since Spacey-Cale joined in the summer of 2018, shortly after the Premier League club had set up its own women’s team.In her first season, Saints won all 18 of their Southern Region Premier matches and in 2019/20 they had won 10 and drawn one of their 11 matches at the time of null and voiding.In the Women’s FA Cup they had beaten Helston 11-0, Ilminster 4-0, Bournemouth 5-0, Plymouth 3-0 and Lewes 2-1 this season. They were the last surviving fourth tier side left in the tournament.In 2019/20 Southampton also reached the semi-finals of the FA Women’s National League Cup.In the quarters they defeated Pompey 2-0 at Gosport’s Privett Park, Ella Pusey netting twice in the first half, before losing 1-0 in the last four to Sunderland.Saints had progressed to the 2019/20 Hampshire Cup final by trouncing Moneyfields 6-0 at AFC Totton’s ground in January 2020.Pompey enjoyed an even bigger semi-final success, hammering Bedhampton 13-0 the following month.
Pompey are aiming to win the Hampshire cup for the 12th season running in tonight’s final at Westleigh Park.