Portsmouth look set to play their Premier League title-decider against West Ham United on Sunday without first-choice goalkeeper Sadie Blakely.
Blakely was sent off for two bookable offences during Pompey’s 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers on yesterday and looks set to serve a one-match suspension next weekend for a match in which the club need a draw to win the league.
Because of the bank holiday, the club have been unable to confirm the procedure, and manager Perry Northeast told Sent Her Forward yesterday that the referee who sent Blakely off, Harry Redman, was unable to say what would happen.
But standard procedure for all FA-affiliated competitions requires clubs to nominate their next fixture for offenders to serve their one-game bans following a sending-off for two yellow cards.
That would mean the Portsmouth goalkeeper, who has been in fine form this season, missing out on the West Ham game – although she would then be eligible if Pompey were to reach the FAWPL Championship play-off later this month.
Courtney Trodd, Blakely’s 16-year-old understudy, stepped into the fray on Sunday following the 34th-minute red card, and her first action was to face the penalty kick awarded for Blakely’s foul. She dived the right way and was just inches away from Gemma Rudman’s perfectly placed kick.
I need bigger gloves, this is the most frustrating photo in existence pic.twitter.com/xf2QAovUBT
— Court (@trodders1) May 3, 2015
But if Blakely does, as expected, serve her ban on Sunday, experienced Premier League goalkeeper Michelle Beazley will be pitched in for her only her second league appearance for Portsmouth.
Beazley, who was not available for yesterday’s game, made her club debut last month when Blakely fell ill on the day of Pompey’s Hampshire Cup final, sparking a race against time for the former Lewes ‘keeper to get to the ground in time.
Portsmouth have conceded only 24 goals in their 21 league games this season – a figure bettered only by Brighton, the only team who can beat them to the title.
After conceding the penalty yesterday, Trodd kept a second-half clean sheet on her first-team debut, and Beazley has conceded only a solitary goal in her two games, against Southampton Saints in the cup final and Cardiff City.
Blakely has been in excellent form for Portsmouth for most of the season, pulling off another crucial save yesterday, moments after Pompey had taken the lead.
NB This report has been superseded. For clarification click here. Further details will be reported when Hampshire FA makes its final decision