Ladies lose to champions Pompey

A 3-1 win saw Portsmouth crowned Premier League South champions
West Ham United Ladies handed the FA Women’s Premier League South title to Portsmouth Ladies with a 3-1 defeat on the final day of the 2014/15 season.

First half goals from Sarah Kempson, Jess Frampton and captain Charley Wilson set the hosts on their way to the title, meaning a goal from Hammers skipper Stacey Little was nothing more than a consolation for Julian Dicks’ side.

After an inspirational half time team talk from the former Hammers left back, the Hammers came out and played out an impressive final 45 minutes of the season, although it was not enough to stop Pompey securing the league title.

Dicks decided to make two changes after Wednesday’s disappointing 5-0 London Capital Women’s Cup final defeat to Charlton. Katie Bottom was unavailable for selection for the trip to the South Coast, allowing Kayleigh Xidhas to come in to cover at full back, whilst Jade Smith replaced Lily Mellors on the left wing.

In the opening quarter of an hour, Portsmouth came out looking like they had a job to do and immediately set about trying to get the opening goal of the game. Wilson and Gemma Hillier were causing the Hammers backline all sorts of problems.

After just 17 minutes, the referee was caught up in the occasion by giving a weak penalty decision for the home side. As Hammers full back Vicky King dived in to clear the ball, there was an apparent handball by the experienced defender, with Kempson stepping up to fire into the corner of Nikki Duncan’s goal.

The Hammers failed to deal with going behind early on in their Cup Final defeat to the Addicks earlier this week and they repeated that again on Sunday when Frampton stole possession from Xidhas and fired confidently into the corner from 18 yards to double the hosts lead.

If being 2-0 behind within the opening half an hour wasn’t bad enough for Dicks side, the game went from bad to worse when Wilson lost Ruby Baxter at a corner and was standing alone inside the six yard box giving her the chance to tap home from a right wing corner.

It look Dicks’ side until 40 minutes in to launch a comeback in the game. Emma Sherwood’s curling free kick wasn’t dealt with by the Pompey keeper and she palmed it straight into the path of Little, who finished well.

Throughout the second half, the Hammers looked like a much improved team as they looked to scare their hosts. Sherwood again looked to fire an effort at the Pompey keeper, but this time she managed to hold the ball.

With the home side two goals ahead with minutes left to play, it was clear that both sides were ready for the full time whistle to blow and allow Portsmouth to begin their championship celebrations.

Sunday’s defeat means West Ham Ladies finish their 2014/14 FA Women’s Premier League South season in sixth place, which is a massive improvement for the Hammers who finished second bottom of the league last season before Dicks took charge at the club.

LADIES: Duncan, King, Revell, Baxter (Mellors), Xidhas, Blanchflower (Sale), Little (c), Bowers, Smith, Kinsman, Sherwood.