Lucy Quinn responded to the red card that never was in the best possible fashion with two goals as Portsmouth beat Premier League newcomers Copsewood in the Premier League Cup in Coventry.
Quinn’s sending-off for handball last week, with Pompey leading Cardiff City 2-1 arguably cost them the game: Cardiff equalised from the ensuing penalty and went on to win the game 7-3.
But the decision has been overturned on appeal, and last season’s top scorer is now available for the club’s league match at Brighton next Sunday.
That’s only partial consolation for Portsmouth manager Perry Northeast, who is still fuming at last week’s decision.
He told Sent Her Forward: “It took Hampshire FA about 10 minutes to decide, after viewing the video once, that it hadn’t touched her hand at all.
“So I’m pretty angry about that because it was a really, really poor decision. I usually back referees up quite a lot. I give them the benefit of the doubt. I know how difficult it is, but when you’ve had that sort of decision…
“I’m really angry about it. The referee showed no mercy, not even contemplating that he could be wrong.”
Quinn would have been available for today’s game anyway – and how Copsewood must have wished she wasn’t. She scored twice – including from a wind-assisted cross-shot – twice restoring Pompey’s lead, as the Coventry side’s first home game since their promotion to the Premier League ended in a second successive defeat.
Molly Clark had given the visitors an early lead, but Nicola Foskett equalised before Quinn‘s freak goal on the stroke of half-time, having earlier been denied by a superb double save from Copsewood goalkeeper Nikki Duncan.
Foskett again levelled, but Quinn grabbed her second 18 minutes from time before Sarah Kempson made certain of the win with a late fourth.
That gives Portsmouth seven goals from their first two competitive games of the season, although only today’s were in a winning cause, and will boost their confidence ahead of this week’s tough league tests against Lewes and Brighton.
Northeast added: “Last week was a bit of a shock, regardless of how it happened. For a club like us to lose two games in a row would have been a real struggle, especially going into games against Lewes and Brighton.
“But if the players are scoring and creating chances, they are happy and we are happy.”
Northeast, who played the returning Leeta Rutherford at centre-back after re-signing her from Millwall, was full of admiration for Copsewood, who won the former South East Combination League last season.
After their impressive showing in losing to Brighton last week, the Coventry side again gave a good account of themselves.
Northeast said: “I quite like having this team in the league because it looks like they are not going to roll over and let you win.
“I can see them taking quite a few points, and while people might see it as a surprise, I don’t think it will be because they are a tough, tough unit. They made it difficult for us, but I think the quality of our side shone through today.”
Copsewood manager Ryan Conneely was disappointed to lose. He felt that at 2-2 his team would go on to win the game. But he admitted: “We can’t afford to concede soft goals against teams of Portsmouth’s quality.”