Southampton FC Women made it back-to-back south coast derby wins on Wednesday night, with a late 1-0 victory at Fratton Park in National League Southern Premier.
For the most part it was an even affair at Fratton Park. Both sides struggling to create chances in front of a bumper crowd in the Fratton end.
Saints got their lead in the 84th minute. Pompey keeper Hannah Haughton parrying a Lucia Kendall shot, with the ball falling to Alisha Ware.
Ware put the ball across the face of the six-yard box, with Portsmouth skipper Danielle Rowe finding her own net in what was the eventual winner.
Saints made two changes to the side that progressed in the FA Cup on Sunday; forwards Ella Pusey and Ciara Watling coming in for Sophia Pharoah and Phoebe Williams, the latter who dropped to the bench.
There were also two changes to the Pompey side, goal scorer four days ago Cherelle Khassal and Freya Jones making way for Rosie McDonnell and Jazz Younger.
As was to be expected on derby day it was a nervy start to the game for both sides, both struggling to hold possession for any great period.
On 29 minutes Pompey had a faint glimpse; Kayla Rendell coming out to bravely punch clear an Ava Rowbotham free-kick in front of McDonnell inside the six-yard box.
Laura Rafferty looked to kick Saints back into gear three minutes later with a solo run from inside her own half which ended with a through ball to Georgie Freeland. The Saints forward finding a square ball to Watling who was hounded out of possession.
Pompey hit back as the game started to finally show some life on 35 minutes, former Saint Shannon Albuery pulling the ball across to Sammy Quayle who couldn’t find the target on the turn.
Minutes later saw Lucia Kendall stand over a Saints free-kick midway through the Portsmouth half, missed by Freeland before it trickled through and narrowly missed the far post.
Provan then conjured up a further chance for the visitors. A ball from deep finding Freeland who looked to have beaten her marker, before firing a shot into the arms of a grateful Hannah Haughton on 39 minutes.
Despite the latter stages of the first 45 providing more in terms of entertainment, it was level pegging going into the break.
The visitors looked to set the tone going into the second half, Pusey finding space inside the box and forcing Haughton into a low save down to her left-hand side.
Back came Porstmouth, forcing Saints back into their own half as the even theme of the first half looked set to continue.
There was almost an awkward moment for Pompey keeper Haughton on 58 minutes, who misjudged the bounce on Rafferty’s long ball, but managed to collect before it passed over the white line.
Despite the scare it was the hosts who had the better of the opening second half minute. A burst down the right wing by Quayle just past the hour mark saw her cross met by Albuery in the box, who was eventually denied by a superb Caitlin Morris tackle.
Saints looked to respond as they had done all evening. Provan firing a ball into the box which a free Pusey came inches away from meeting before Haughton did well to claim.
Marieanne Spacey-Cale made a triple change with just over 20 minutes to go as Katie Rood, Alisha Ware and Ella Morris were introduced.
The trio were involved almost instantly. Ella Morris’ looking for Rood on the edge of the box before the New Zealand international left the ball for Ware on the far side.
Ware cut inside and fired across goal from some distance, causing Haughton to save well in the 77th minute.
Albuery led the Pompey reaction, carrying the ball on the edge of the box before looking to test Rendell who claimed well.
Saints came back as the game sparked into life for the first time this half. Rafferty with a superb cross-field ball into the path of Ware, whose cross was deflected into the path of Haughton.
Then in the 84th minute, Saints grabbed the lead they had been craving.
Kendall fired a fierce shot towards goal which was parried by Haughton. Ware claimed the rebound and looked to fire the ball across goal.
The cross found the back of the net via a Danielle Rowe deflection, queuing big Saints celebrations from those who travelled down.
Pompey pressed for an equaliser as the game went into added time, but Saints continued to stand strong.
As the clock ticked down Saints had the ball right where they wanted in, deep into the Portsmouth half.
The referee blew the whistle, confirming back-to-back derby wins for Spacey-Cale’s side.
Next up is the visit of Cardiff City to Snows Stadium on Sunday 19th December (2pm GMT).