Jazz Younger scored the only goal of the game to hand Oxford United Women their first defeat all season in the FAWNL Cup this afternoon.
Rose Kite made her 50th appearance for the U’s, whilst Georgia Hayes made her first start of the season for the U’s at left back, after recovering from an ACL injury that ruled her of the entire previous campaign.
Pompey had the better chances in the first half, the best of which was volleyed over by Jazz Younger from close range following a flicked-on corner. The ball just wouldn’t stick for the U’s, with loose touches and passes disrupting the usual flowing football
Daisy McLachlan was United’s brightest spark, picking up the ball in good areas and combining well with Hayes down the left.
The U’s were fortunate not to concede after the 25th minute goal mouth scramble that saw the home side have three clear chances within the six yard box in a matter of seconds, but the Pompey pressure did eventually break down the Yellow wall.
Younger rose highest from a corner and thumped home her header to put Portsmouth ahead in the 34th minute and United were down at the break for the first time this season.
Manager Liam Gilbert looked to change things at half time, as Lacy Liggett and Billie French replaced Sarah King and Jess Gray.
The weather showed no signs of changing though, with the rain hammering down at Westleigh Park for the entire 90 minutes of football.
The game became tense and neither side had any particularly good chances for the first twenty minutes of the second period. Liggett added some intensity to the U's game, but it didn't fashion itself into clear opportunities.
Then, in the 69th minute, United came close to the leveller. Riva Casley flicked a corner towards the back post, but her headed effort just looped wide.
Erin Hartigan replaced Leah Burridge in the 70th minute to set up an interesting final twenty, but the U's ultimately couldn't find the clincial edge they've had in abundance so far this year. Hermione Prescott came on for Sammy Wynne for the final five minutes.
The U's had a final chance in the 88th minute as the ball fell to Hartigan, but she fired wide under pressure from the Pompey defence.
United lose for the first time all season, but may feel slightly more frustrated with the performance than the result going into the Christmas break. See you in Bridgwater in January.
LINEUP: Kite, Gray (French, 45'), Gotch, Casley, Hayes, Cole, Wynne (Prescott, 85'), Burridge (Hartigan, 70'), McLachlan, Johns, King (Liggett, 45').
Report by Billy Lawrence, pictures Darrell Fisher