Half way there, and it’s a 9/10 for Pompey Women.

Published: 03/01/2024

By Ian Chiverton. Photos by Jason Brown 

Pompey Women’s first half of the 2023/24 season has been seriously impressive.  17 games played in all competitions, 14 wins, 80 goals scored and just 7 conceded.

With 9 wins from their 10 league games so far, they find themselves second in the Southern Premier Division just 3 points below leaders Hashtag.  Critically though, Pompey have 2 games in hand.

It’s all or nothing for Pompey.  With just one promotion space they must finish top to go up to the Championship.  Next season see’s the takeover of the top two Women’s leagues in England by a new independent body, this looks likely to mean significantly more money being invested into the WSL and Championship.  If you’re not in those leagues next season you could find yourself cut adrift.

Pompey are aware of these upcoming changes and have been preparing.  The Tornante takeover of the Women’s team and the significant investment turning the side semi-professional has been timed perfectly.

There was some pressure on the side coming into the 23/24 season.  The Southern Premier Division contains some strong, established teams along with some unknowns and Pompey are not the only team running a semi-professional model.  Pompey were already a strong side in the division but going semi-professional means they were now expected to complete for the title each season.

The season started emphatically with Pompey winning their first two league games 5-0 vs Cheltenham and 9-0 vs Cardiff City.  Then came the first set back, and to date their only dropped points of the season so far.

A 1-0 defeat to newly promoted Hashtag who would go on to top the table at Christmas. Pompey had the chances to win the game, hitting the woodwork multiple times.  It was just one of those games.

Pompey followed up the defeat with 8-0, 4-0 and 7-0 wins over Chatham, Oxford and Billericay respectively.  This showed real character and the scorelines were starting to turn heads of the title rivals.  Other teams around Pompey were winning just as many games, but none come close to the amount of goals Pompey have been scoring.

One of the biggest indicators of Pompey’s pedigree this season has been their results in the tougher games.  Title rivals Rugby were beaten 1-0 away from home. MK Dons who had already beat Hashtag and Rugby in the league were dispatched 3-0 at Westleigh Park. Pompey also beat Plymouth 3-1 away in a game played in difficult conditions with a very lively home support.

Pompey have everything required to continue to challenge at the top this season. Their regular front 3 of Jones, Quirk and Lumsden have 40 goals between them with the likes of Lane and Pitman contributing another 17 goals on top of that.

In defence Jay has top quality options allowing him to rotate the back line as needed.  That along with the experienced head of Captain Hannah Haughton in goal, the team have only conceded two goals in 10 games and kept 8 clean sheets.

Missing midfielders Rolf and Rutherford for some of the first half of the season had been a blow, both are huge players for this side.  However, you can’t help but admire how the squads “no excuses” mentality which has kicked in.  Lane, Freeland, Rowbotham and Hall have all been playing in the central roles this season and to a player have been excellent.

With the season being only 22 games if you want to win the league you simple can’t stumble. Historically you need a points total in the late 50’s to win the league, with only 66 available if you have a blip of 2/3 defeats your title race is over.

Pompey face some challenging fixtures.  Ipswich home and away with Rugby and Hashtag at home could be the fixtures that define this campaign.

This squad are flying though, you could feel it building in pre-season.  Pompey are seeing a significant increase in attendances at Westleigh park and the football they are playing is bringing more fans in every game.  They are yet to lose a league game or concede a single goal in the league at home all season.

The squad are capable of winning the division, they are grounded and know what they need to do.  The support of the fans at matches will be critical in the second half of the season. 

I appeal to every Pompey fan to get themselves down to Westleigh Park and let’s get behind this brilliant set of players.