Worthing Women made it four wins from four league games as they battled to a hard fought 3-1 victory at league leaders Lewes on Sunday.
Goals from Sam Mee, Hannah Hewlett and a brilliant strike from Sara Tubby cancelled out Katie Cooper’s spectacular effort for the hosts, as Michelle Lawrence’s side earned another precious three points.
The visitors made a bright start to proceedings and had the first chance of the match on 12-minutes, when Sam Mee’s curling free kick forced a smart save from Jasmine Moulding in the Lewes goal. The hosts responded well to Worthing’s good start and almost opened the scoring on 15-minutes when Becky Simmons found space inside the Worthing box, however her powerful effort flew straight into the arms of Amy Coster.
Following an even opening quarter, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 22-minutes. After winning the ball back in her own half, Beth Mckellar’s overlapping run and inch perfect cross was bundled over the line by Mee from close range to the delight of the Worthing bench.
The away side then had a great chance to double their lead moments later on 25-minutes. Following great play from Tubby down the right, Worsfold’s layoff found Chloe Lelliott in space on the edge of the box, however her speculative effort was well held by Moulding.
Despite the early setback, Lewes continued to look dangerous, and they found an equaliser on 28-minutes thanks to a moment of pure genius. After winning the ball back in midfield, the dangerous Cooper beat two Worthing players before unleashing a dipping 25-yard strike that flew over Coster and into the back on the net to bring the league leaders level.
Worthing responded well to losing their lead, with Tubby’s powerful strike forcing another good stop from Moulding on 44-minutes, however the home side were unable to see out the remainder of the half unscathed. Worthing restored their advantage in first half stoppage time, when captain Hewlett rose highest to guide a simple header into the back of the net from a Mee corner to give Worthing a precious lead at the interval.
The second half began in a similarly cagey fashion as both sides looked to hit each other on the break. Worthing thought they had regained their lead immediately from the restart, however Mee saw her close range effort ruled out for offside following a great run and cutback from Beth Kincaid.
As both sides continued to test each others resolve, Lawrence made a triple substitution, with Sophie Humphrey, Rebecca Barron and Lucy Somes deputising for Lelliott, Mee and Kincaid respectively to give the visitors fresh legs as they looked to hold their advantage.
With Lewes continuing to flood bodies forward in search of an equaliser, Worthing were looking increasingly dangerous on the counter attack, and they found a third goal on 64-minutes. After a Lewes free kick was easily cleared, Tubby was sent through on goal by Worsfold and she dispatched a venomous rasping strike past Moulding and into the roof of the net to put her side in control.
Lawrence continued to tweak her tactics into the final 15-minutes, as she introduced Sara Hinton for the excellent Mckellar, before Kincaid re-entered the fray in place of Worsfold and Sophie Frost deputised for Somes.
Tubby did have another chance to add to her tally on 85-minutes, when her first time effort from the corner of the box smashed off the angle of post and bar, as Worthing looked to run down the clock in the final stages.
That was the final action of a thoroughly entertaining affair at The Dripping Pan, and after the match Lawrence said; “credit to Lewes, they pushed us all the way but our experience showed in the end. It actually became a little fraught towards the end but my players kept their heads and put in a professional performance to leave with all three points”.