The University of Portsmouth’s Ladies manager Ed Filmer admitted frustration at his sides 3-0 home defeat to St Marys in what he called Pompey’s best performance of the season so far.
The victory extends the West Londoners 100% record in the league but it was the southerners who were on top for the majority of the scrappy first half which included a flurry of good chances for the home side.
Indeed, it was Pompey sport scholar Sam Quayle who had the first sight of goal when the ball fell for her on the right side of the box but unfortunately her shot went wide of the target, albeit from a tough opportunity.
Soon after, Lauren Drewitt went down the right flank and delivered a dangerous cross into the box but unfortunately there was nobody at the back post to capitalise on the captain’s good work.
However, this was a sign of things to come as Pompey routinely had the beating of St Mary’s left back and fashioned a number of chances from their right side but were unable to capitalise on any of the opportunities they created.
Gradually, the Londoners gained a foothold in the match, creating their first chance by delivering a dangerous cross from the right which somehow evaded everyone in the box.
Minutes later, the Londoners were in again when their striker showed a good turn of pace down the left channel to get away from her marker but fortunately for the hosts, she over-played in the box and wasted her opportunity.
Just as the balance in play seemed to be shifting, Pompey crafted easily the best chance of the match when Quayle sent Liz O’Callaghan down the right wing who then delivered a probing ball across goal. However, left winger Deanna Taylor could not stretch far enough to divert the ball into an empty net, leaving the score at 0-0.
This proved to be a costly miss as shortly afterwards, the away side were awarded a penalty when one of their lively strikers was brought down on the corner of the penalty area.
Luckily, the resulting spot kick was straight down the middle of keeper, Emily Paines’ goal who then did brilliantly to divert the rebound out for a corner to keep the scores level.
The penalty did prove to be the turning point of the match, however, as Saints gradually began to get a grip of proceedings and went close to breaking the deadlock a number of times before the break. First forcing Paines into another good double save from a long range free-kick before hitting the bar shortly after with an attempt from distance.
Portsmouth did have one more opportunity before the whistle, with O’Callaghan forcing her way down the left channel to get a shot away which was met by a good save from the opposition goalie.
That was the last of the action in the first half and the South Coast team would have felt slightly disappointed not to have put one of their chances away against the league leaders.
The second half began much like the first with a scrappy period of play in which few chances were created but for one or two speculative efforts from the home side.
A lull in proceedings ensued which was only livened up by a moment of controversy when one of the visiting sides’ midfielders appeared to go down off the ball untouched, which was left unpunished by the referee.
The occurrence angered the southerners who suspected foul play on the visitors behalf and shortly after O’Callaghan was booked for arguing with the referee following the dismissal of what looked a certain foul as the midfielder charged down St Mary’s left.
Minutes later, the West Londoners finally broke the deadlock when their lively strikers combined after winning the ball deep in Pompey territory to create an easy tap in.
Another disappointing booking for the home side preceded the visitors doubling their lead when a defence splitting pass played in their striker once again who slotted neatly under Emily Paines and into the net.
The disappointment was evident in the home side who struggled to gain a foothold in the game after going two down; their best chance coming when Drewitt had a shot blocked following a good passing move through the centre of the opposition midfield.
However, any confidence this might have given Portsmouth would quickly dissipate as St Marys were awarded their second penalty of the game, won yet again by their tenacious striker who was clipped after getting behind the home side’s defence.
This time the spot-kick was converted which would prove to be the last action of a disappointing afternoon for Pompey, with manager Filmer describing the game as “very frustrating.”
“After half an hour we were very strong and had them on the ropes, but although Emily made a great save from the penalty, it was that which killed our momentum.”
“Even their manager admitted that we didn’t deserve to be on the losing side so it’s a hard one to take for how well the girls played but that’s probably our best performance of the season so I’m very proud of them.”
The result leaves Pompey third in the table after eight games played, five points behind second placed Canterbury and four ahead of Sussex in fourth.
They next travel to bottom of the league Royal Holloway where the southerners will be hoping to make ground on the two sides ahead of them as the season enters its closing stages.