In a hugely exciting National League Plate Quarter-Final Portsmouth came from 2-0 down in the 88th minute to score twice and force extra time. After going ahead themselves they were pegged back by an AFC Wimbledon goal in the 120th minute, then losing the tie 6-7 on penalties.
Pompey boss, Jay Sadler, handed a start to new signing Annie Rolf while the club’s other recent new addition Anasia Harney began on the bench. For Wimbledon, their new signing Amy Taylor also began her Dons career with a place on the bench. While
After a tough start to the season, Kevin Foster’s side has been in excellent form and are now firmly involved in a title race and promotion to the National League South, where their opponents call home.
It was the visitors who had the first big chance of the game in the eighth minute. A loose pass from Rolf was pounced upon by Wimbledon but Emily Donovan shot just wide of the Portsmouth goal.
With dual signed Evie Gane representing Watford, Portsmouth’s number nine, Emma Jones, covered at left wing back and her striker’s instincts meant that she was comfortable going forward and causing looking dangerous.
Portsmouth’s Shannon Albuery and Cherelle Khassal both had chances but Dons keeper, Lauren Allen was able to save comfortably.
It remained 0-0 at half time with neither side doing enough to edge themselves ahead.
Portsmouth came out of the changing rooms and immediately looked like they’d raised their levels. Khassal had an early chance, she danced around Allen but her shot hit the side netting.
At this point, I thought Portsmouth were looking like the side most likely to break the deadlock but Ashlee Hinks had other ideas as she headed her side ahead from a Katie Stanley cross.
On the hour mark Wimbledon introduced Lauren Pickett and the former Championship player’s first touch was to control a pass in Pompey box and her second was a lovely shot that beat the keeper but crashed against the crossbar.
Hinks then turned provider for Donovan as Wimbledon tore up the script by going 2-0 up.
Portsmouth were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty. Heartbreak for the home fans as Khassal’s spot-kick went over the bar.
As we entered the 88th minute it looked like it was game over but a Danielle Rowe’s free-kick was headed on by second half substitute, Tamsin de Bunsen with Albuery on hand to score from close range.
Deep deep into injury time Albuery found herself through with only Allen to beat on the Wimbledon goal. de Bunsen was unmarked in the middle for a tap in but she didn’t need her as she slotted the ball in the back of the net which sparked huge celebrations on the Pompey bench.
Going into extra time Pompey we’re understandably buoyed by their second chance and went ahead through substitute Harney. The Watford loanee was able to bundle home from close range.
As many were packing their bags go to leave Wimbledon had one last attack and they made it count! Rosie Russell making sure that everyone sat back down for the penalty shoot out.
Wimbledon we’re unable to score their first three kicks, two of which were saved by Pompey Keeper Hannah Haughton. Portsmouth we’re unable to properly take advantage, missing two of their first three. Centre back Jaime Gotch had a chance to win it but her kick went over and we went into sudden death.
Danni Lane, Haughton, Rolf, Khassal and Rowe all scored for Pompey and Hayley Bridge suffered the heartbreak of missing the crucial kick when her shot hit the post.
In fairness, whichever team was eliminated would have felt disappointed as both had winning positions snatched away from them on more than one occasion. This match goes to show how strong the National League is and how important it is that the FA nurture these divisions to help these clubs continue their development and keep pace with the Championship.
Portsmouth: Haughton; Tonks, Gotch, Rowe (c); Quayle, Rolf, Freya Jones, Emma Jones, Lane; Albuery, Khassal
Subs Used: Bridge, Harney, de Bunsen
Wimbledon: Allen, Russell, Billingham, Mann, Highman, Sargent, Stow, Donovan, Hincks, Stanley, Carter,
Subs Used: Pickett, Sampson, Taylor, Oliver