YEOVIL Town Ladies finished their FA Women’s League Cup group matches with a disappointing 3-2 defeat at National League Portsmouth on Sunday. Stacey Pearson and Laura Bray grabbed the Glovers goals, both coming late on with the team already 3-0 down.
This gave the girls hope of a late equaliser, but in the end they had to settle for defeat, although they could still progress to the knock out stages of the competition as one of four best third placed teams. The Premier League are yet to confirm who these teams are.
“The first half was all about Portsmouth, and we were happy to come in 2-0 down,” joint manager Nigel Williams said after the match. “The home team who play in the national league, showed all their quality and ability to put attack after attack together.
Their movement off the ball gave options all over the pitch and we, although going two down, showed great courage, with our back four throwing everything into defending our goal. In goal Player of the game, Rach Simkin (Dodge) made some good saves and showed her quality in between the posts.
”Portsmouth’s first goal came from a cross into the box going over a number of players, and then came back in at the far post. This gave them a cushion and they moved the ball around and drew us into a foul just on the edge of the box. Up steps ex-Yeovil Town Player Jemma Tewkesbury who always could strike a dead ball well, to make it 2-0 with a well-placed drive into the bottom right corner of the net.
”We continued to play our kind of football, and we will not change our focus. We want a footballing side, we want the players to get the ball down and play a passing possession game. Some of what we did in the first half showed signs of us being able to compete at an even higher level than we are at the moment, but I think the girls needed to believe in themselves more.
” When we did play quickly we made some good attacking opportunities, but in the first half it was not enough. We needed to work harder and close down quicker so not giving opponents the chance to play. In the final third we did not get in behind the defence and gave the ‘keeper a very boring first half.
”What is great about our side is the response they give Sarah (Lawler) and I. At half time we did not need to tell them they had not played well; You don't batter players when they have their own understanding that on the pitch they had not done themselves any justice. You work as a partnership and give instructions to make a difference to the way they play.
We are all in this together and therefore Sarah and I made a change at half time to strengthen us at the back. This started allowing us to win the ball a lot more, but we were holding possession and played out from the back.
”Portsmouth’s third goal came against the run of play and actually they did not deserve that one, but it kicked us to step up again. We made a further change in midfield, bringing on Stacey Pearson. Taking up the right wing spot she worked well with Manners (Emma Brazell), thus giving us more width, helping to combine and release Manners from the right back area with some overlaps.
”We were playing some good football, with play from the left almost mirroring the right side. This saw Mitch (Keehan) deliver into the box for Stace to come in off the wing almost into the centre forward area and finish with her head to make it 3-1.
ladiesWe made another change to put even more pressure on the back four, and a brilliant through ball had the Portsmouth defence stretched. Laura's speed up front took her beyond the defence and she calmly took the ball around the ‘keeper to slot it home.
“We continued to push them right up until the end. Portsmouth were also making some good plays down the right, but were not able to gain momentum again and we were on top. Unfortunately they knew this and for the last part of the game they just played into the corners. Strength kept it there, and I think it ended with them having six or seven throw ins where we were trying to win the ball back.
”In all honesty Portsmouth deserved the win. It might have been different if we had not given them the head start that we did by not turning up for the first half. However, we take encouragement from the game and that is that when we could have rolled over and given up we fought hard to get back into the game and proved ourselves in the second half. We take that performance into next week’s game against QPR at Wells City's Ground.
”At this point in time we have to wait and see if we have qualified for the national knock round of the league cup, but we have put ourselves in a good position with the second half performance. What we did during this league Cup league format has been impressive with some great performances at home and away. Hopefully by the time this interview goes to print I might be smiling a lot more if we have qualified.
”When you look back and analyse performances where we should have taken points we will learn and come back stronger in the next game. We have made two good signings this week and when clearances come through this week on them; we will make the announcement hopefully by Thursday when we have tied up the business side of the club. These are exciting times.”
Yeovil Town Ladies - Simkin, Brazell, Edwards, Keehan, Grogen (Hannam - 45) Bray, Radburn, Wensley, Cornwall (Pearson - 70) Lorton, Rapp, (Locke - 70)
Goals: Stacey Pearson (80), Laura Bray (83)
Referee: Colin Hopkins (Hampshire)
Next Match: Home to Queens Park Rangers Ladies - 16 November 2012, 2pm kick off. Wells City FC
Nigel Williams was talking to Ali King