Worthing Women maintained their 100% league start as they comfortably saw off a spirited Ashford side at a rain soaked Woodside Road on Sunday.
A hat trick for Lucy Somes and goals from Beth Kincaid and Sam Mee ensured The Reds earned a sixth straight league victory in their pursuit of top spot.
Both sides began brightly in the opening stages, but it was the hosts who had the first chance of note on eight minutes when Gemma Worsfold fired narrowly over the Ashford bar following a great run and cutback from Somes. Hannah Hewlett also went close for the Reds on 20 minutes, however her well struck half volley flew straight into the arms of visiting keeper Lucy Green.
After initially defending well, the visitors then gifted Worthing a chance to take the lead from the penalty spot on 24 minutes, when Kincaid was upended in the box by Green following a lapse in concentration from the Ashford rear-guard. It was a chance that was to pass Worthing by however, as Sara Tubby dragged her attempt from the spot tamely wide to the relief of the Ashford backroom staff.
Fortunately for the home side, that miss would not prove to be costly as the deadlock was broken less than 2 minutes later. After another teasing run, Kincaid’s pass found Somes in space, and she showed great composure to round Green and cooly finish into an empty net.
Tubby then atoned for her miss from the spot on 32 minutes when her perfect cross was headed in brilliantly by Kincaid from close range to quickly bring the score to 2-0. Somes added her second and Worthing’s third on 37 minutes, as her glancing header from Tubby’s in-swinging free kick found the bottom corner to put Lawrence’s side firmly in control of proceedings.
Ashford did fashion a chance on the stroke of half time, when Sharne Douglas intercepted a loose pass in midfield, however her effort from the edge of the box lacked venom and was easy for Amy Coster.
Michelle Lawrence made a triple substitution at half time, with Sam Mee, Chloe Lelliott and Sara Hinton deputising for Beth Mckellar, Worsfold and Kincaid as Worthing looked to rotate their options and increase their advantage.
The second half was barley 10 minutes old when Worthing added their fourth. Following a foul on the edge of the Ashford box, Mee stepped up and drilled a brilliant low effort past Green to put the result beyond doubt.
The fifth came just a minute later on 57 minutes when Somes delightfully dribbled past Green and dummied her way past a last ditch challenge on the line to slot home and complete her hat trick.
Following that flurry of goalscoring action, Worsfold and Kincaid re-entered the fray in place of Rebecca Barron and Tammy Waine, as Lawrence continued to use her squad depth to maintain a clean sheet. Hewlett then saw another speculative long range effort easily saved on 64 minutes, before Coster got down well to deny Douglas at her near post as both sides started to tire.
Tubby then departed for Gypsy Sutcliffe, who made her long awaited return from injury with 15 minutes remaining.
Douglas had provided the main outboard for Ashford throughout the afternoon and she almost grabbed a late consolation on 76 minutes, however her powerful drive fizzed past Costers post. Brooke Marshall then had to be alert to clear an Ashford effort away to safety in stoppage time.
That was the final action of another entertaining affair at Woodside Road, as Worthing romped to another impressive league victory. Only a point now separates Worthing from league leaders Lewes, after their game was postponed. The Reds also have two games in hand on their title rivals, and they’ll be hoping to take advantage in the coming weeks.
After the game, hat trick hero Lucy Somes was delighted to see her teammates hard work on the training ground paying dividends on matchday. She said “Today we were solid throughout, what we practiced in training was replicated on the pitch perfectly. It was great to keep the winning run on track and we’re 100% committed to keeping that momentum going for as long as possible. The mood in the camp is great at the moment and we’re enjoying every moment”.