Match Report: Portsmouth 0-0 Moneyfields (3-1 pens)

Photo: @PompeyWomen

Portsmouth were able to pick up their second regional trophy in as many weeks after another tense penalty shoot-out victory against Moneyfields in the PDFA Cup at Westleigh Park.

This is a repeat of last season’s final which saw Jay Sadler’s Pompey come away 4-1 winners. That night Moneyfields never got going and Karl Watson’s side never recovered from conceding in the opening minute. Tonight was a different story, Money’s have learnt from that experience and put in a much more composed and resolute performance.

Moneyfields have every right to feel aggrieved after they were denied promotion via the FA’s upward movement process, losing out to AFC Bournemouth. Considering Moneyfield’s superior PPG over the last two years, it seems odd that the FA hasn’t decided based on the 75-25 in favour of on-field achievement and that the south-coast rivals have won out due to their superior off-field resources.

A good crowd were there to watch this match and I even had some company with some of my Havant & Waterlooville U15 girl’s side joining me. Portsmouth started on the offensive and Moneyfields struggled to make their mark in the holder’s defensive third.

Ava Rowbotham was the first to test the Moneyfield’s keeper, Lauren Sayer, but she was able to tip the ball over the bar for a Portsmouth corner.

Katie James was named as captain for Portsmouth in what is to be her final appearance for the club after eight years at the club. In the sixteenth minute, James picked up the loose ball, found herself with some space and her shot from distance cannoned off the crossbar.

Photos: @PompeyWomen

Just under ten minutes later the woodwork also denied Portsmouth forward, Jade Widdows, who shot from a tight angle. Rowbotham’s follow-up struck the bar as Pompey’s opponents held on to the interval.

While Moneyfields can thank the frame of the goal to keep them in the game they have made their own luck with some committed and well organised defending.

Two minutes after coming on in the 69th minute, Eilidh Currie, let fly with one of her trademark left-footed drives but Sayler was able to hold to a shot that would have no doubt stung her fingers. Sayler would finish the game as my personal player of the match.

Moneyfields were given a few sights at goal in the second half but they were unable to seriously test the Pompey keeper, Hannah Haughton.

Portsmouth thought they’d won it in the 83rd minute but Shannon Albuery was adjudged to have been offside.

Shannon Albuery did have the ball in the back of the net on 83 minutes, only for celebrations to be cut short by an offside flag. There was still time for Portsmouth to hit the woodwork, again from James.

As the final whistle went there were muted celebrations from Moneyfields and full credit to them. Despite Pompey’s dominance in the final third they had held strong and showed how far they’d developed since their previous encounter. With penalties, Watson will know that his side had every chance of winning.

Ciara Boylan and Currie both converted their chances in the first round of kicks. Hampshire Cup final hero, Portsmouth’s Haughton, greeted each penalty taker at the penalty spot before returning to her line. Whether that helped or not I’ll let you decide as Moneyfields went on to miss their next three kicks and it was left to Rowbotham to slot home the winning penalty.

While everyone involved in Moneyfields will have been disappointed not to have pushed Portsmouth closer in the shootout they can be immensely proud of their performance against a team two divisions above them in the women’s football pyramid.

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