Gurr ’95, ‘105
- Imi Umotong gives Portsmouth the lead
- Kate Natkiel scores an equaliser
- Charlotte Gurr with two goals in extra-time give Albion victory
- The Seagulls remain unbeaten in eight games this season
Charlotte Gurr’s dramatic extra-time brace secured Brighton & Hove Albion women a scintillating 3-1 victory over Portsmouth in the Premier League Cup, preliminary round, at Privett Park.
Gurr’s eighth and ninth goals of the season decided a thoroughly entertaining tie, as James Marrs’s side set up a first round meeting at Queens Park Rangers on Sunday 4th October.
Portsmouth made a bright start to the game and created a chance after three minutes, when Sarah Kempson’s free-kick forced a save from Faye Baker.
Lucy Quinn then had a chance to break the deadlock for the hosts, but saw her shot go wide of the left-hand post.
Albion created their first chance of the game when Kate Natkiel set up Gurr, whose long-range shot curled past the post.
Imi Umotong gave Pompey the lead after 24 minutes; the Nigerian international seeing her first shot saved by Baker before netting the rebound with a diving header.
The Seagulls sought to immediately bring parity to the scoreline when Amy Taylor broke well down the left-hand side and found Lucy Somes on the left, but the latter could not make a decent connection with the cross.
The hosts had a good opportunity to score a second when Quinn’s deep set-piece into the box was met by Leeta Rutherford at the far post, but she blazed her shot over the bar.
James Marrs’s side had a chance to level right on half -time with a free-kick, but Sadie Blakely was on hand to make a good save.
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Albion began the second half with added urgency and could have easily wiped out Pompey’s lead inside the opening 60 seconds.
Gurr’s shot from point-blank range cannoned off the post after she was put under pressure by a fine challenge by Shannon Sievwright.
But the Seagulls did find a deserved equaliser in the 56th minute as Natkiel clinically dispatched a shot past Blakely at the second attempt.
The hosts could have re-taken the lead moments later when some fine work by Umotong set up a chance for Gemma Simmonds, who could not divert her shot on target.
Natkiel was next to trouble Blakely with a shot from distance, before Taylor was played through one-on-one with the Pompey keeper only to be penalised for a challenge.
The Seagulls continued to press forward and Natkiel was denied by a fine save from Blakely.
Charley Boswell was brought on in the 88th minute and could have made an immediate impact after Natkiel found her in space, but the pass was played too late and the linesman raised his flag.
In almost the last action of the second half, Portsmouth substitute Charley Wilson scuffed her shot inside the box before Umotong’s strike cannoned off the crossbar.
Albion took the lead five minutes into extra-time when substitute Jay Blackie’s long ball up the pitch was met by Gurr and the forward fired the ball through Blakely’s legs.
Any fears of the tie going to penalties was ended in emphatic fashion, as Gurr audaciously chipped the ball over Blakely to send Albion into the next round.
ALBION: Baker; C Cooper, D Cooper, Ashton-Jones; Somes, Young (Barton 69), Rowe (Blackie 90), Gurr, Markham; (Boswell 88) Natkiel, Taylor.
First-team manager James Marrs said, "I thought we were poor in the first half, but our fitness levels were very good today and I thought there was only one team in the game from 65 minutes onwards.
"We were much sharper in the second half. The players woke themselves up at half time and I did not have shout at or berate them.
"They know what standards they need to reach to beat teams like this and they started to compete a bit more.
"On the balance of play, I thought we were the better side today. and psychologically, that was a very big win for us."