Finally! Portsmouth Women had a home match. This was only their third home game since September! After the Christmas break I was itching to get back into football and was keen to see if the new look Portsmouth could kick off 2019 with a win.
I think I must have been the first person at the stadium because the turnstiles weren’t even staffed and I had to find someone to pay otherwise I could’ve just as easily had this one as a bit of a freebie.
As I approached the pitch I saw that new signings, Lee Callender was already warming up new signing Hannah Haughton. The goalkeeper who was signed from Southampton Saints the week before was making her debut.
This was also first home appearance for Northern Ireland U19 international winger, Alex Collighan, who signed from Chichester City back in November. The club’s other new signing, Becki Bath had to be content to start on the bench.
In the early stages of the match it was relatively even between the two sides. Courtnay Ward-Chambers and Hollie Hogan both tested Haughton in the Portsmouth goal but would have hoped to have done better with their early chances.
I was a bit shocked that Portsmouth were not awarded a penalty when Collighan was brought down as she raced towards goal. The referee didn’t judge it to be a foul and waved play on, much to many of the surprise of large parts of the crowd and the relief of the QPR bench.
Portsmouth continued to exert a bit of pressure and during a succession of corners, Collighan’s header looked to have given the blues the lead until Rhiannon Ishmael managed to clear the ball off the line and onto the crossbar before the ball was eventually cleared.
Photo: Stephen Cummings.
Portsmouth began the second half brightly and Gillian Kasirye pulled off a superb save from a fierce shot from distance. Not too long after that, Portsmouth were awarded a penalty after a soft challenge on the edge of the box. By the letter of the law, I’d say it was a penalty but it’s definitely one of those that if you’re the attacking team you’d be fuming if you didn’t get it, however, if it was given against you then you’d feel slightly aggrieved. Rachel Panting stepped up and tucked the ball into the bottom right corner as Anes was sent the other way.
Becki Bath was introduced in the 74th minute for the lively Esther Anu. Bath was heavily involved in the Portsmouth’s attacks but wasn’t quite able to help her new side find a second goal that would have killed the game off. Queens Park Rangers weren’t able to really test the Portsmouth keeper in the second half although with only one goal in it they never gave up the fight.
The game finished 1-0 and Jay Sadler will have been happy to get a win and importantly a clean sheet. I was really impressed with Queens Park Rangers. They didn’t approach the game like a side that only had two points so far this season. I thought that Queens Park Rangers appeared to be a tight unit and a group of players who were all playing for each other and weren’t going to give anything to Portsmouth easily. I hope that they start to pick up the results that they deserve.
Portsmouth: Haughton; Kirby, Southgate (c), Tonks, Currie; Perkins (Rowe 56), Bradley; Anu (Bath 74), James (Eadon 85), Collighan; Panting
Queens Park Rangers: Anes, Hogan, Ishmael, Kasirye, Kumaning, Locke, Martins, Netschova, Peacock, Wilson, Ward-Chambers