Worthing Women booked a place in the League Cup semi-finals on Sunday, as they produced another clinical display against a spirited Bexhill United side at Woodside Road.
Braces from Gemma Worsfold and Beth Kincaid, along with solo strikes from Sara Hinton and Sam Mee ensured safe progression for Michelle Lawrence’s side, who will face Phoenix Sports in the next round.
The visitors began the brighter of the two teams and took a shock lead on eight-minutes when Dominique Beckett latched onto a loose pass in midfield and fired a precise effort past Amy Coster in the Worthing goal to send the Bexhill bench into raptures.
That joy was to be short lived however, as Worthing equalised just two-minutes later. After being played through down the left-hand side, Gemma Worsfold delightfully clipped a first time effort over the head of visiting keeper Keila Tucker and into the back of the net to bring Worthing level.
The home side were then forced into an early change on 20-minutes when Lucy Somes pulled up with a suspected groin injury, with Kincaid deputising from the bench as Worthing looked to find a crucial second goal.
Sophie Humphrey went close for The Reds on 26-minutes, when her precise header from Sam Mee’s excellent free kick dropped narrowly wide. Kincaid then produced a moment of pure quality to give her side the lead on 28-minutes when she timed her run perfectly and lifted a deft effort over Tucker to complete the turnaround before the half hour mark.
Mee then saw her corner almost fly straight into the net two-minutes later, however Worthing’s improved efforts would soon be rewarded again. Following a great through ball by Barron, Kincaid’s effort was well saved by Tucker, however Worsfold was on hand to tap into an empty net for an easy finish to give her side a two-goal cushion.
With their lead extended going into half time, captain Hannah Hewlett made way for Gypsy Sutcliffe in a tactical switch, as Worthing reverted to a more natural looking back four.
After the break, Worthing continued to press and found a fourth goal on 50-minutes. After another great through ball set Kincaid away, her shot was well saved once again by Tucker, however Mee was on hand to volley a first-time effort into the net as Bexhill’s woes worsened.
In the aftermath of that fourth goal, Hewlett returned in place of Barron in her more familiar midfield role as Worthing rotated formations once again.
The hosts had more chances to make it five going into the final quarter of the game. Sutcliffe saw her header from a corner flash narrowly wide on 62-minutes, before Worsfold squandered a great opening five-minutes later, dragging her close-range effort just wide.
The fifth did arrive on 66-minutes, when Sara Hinton’s run was brilliantly found by Kincaid, and the full back kept her composure to calmly finish into the net for her second goal of the season.
With victory all but sealed, Worthing continued to find their attacking rhythm. Only the woodwork denied Mee her second of the game on 72-minutes when her thunderous volley crashed back off the post, with no one on hand to convert the rebound.
The home side’s sixth and final goal came 13-minutes from the final whistle, when Kincaid cooly curled another precise finish past Tucker to complete the rout. Mee had one last chance to make it seven with four-minutes remaining, however her goalbound effort was well blocked, allowing the visitors to clear their lines.
That was the final action of a thrilling cup tie, as Worthing recovered from their slow start to comfortably see off their lower ranked rivals and progress into the semi-finals of the League Cup.
Whilst happy to progress to the semi-final, Manager Michelle Lawrence was less impressed with her team’s performance on the day. She said, “we were laboured and didn’t play with any intensity. Credit to Bexhill, they were positive in their play and capitalised on our slow start. I was pleased with how the team responded to going behind, and there were some good individual goals, but generally we played well below the standard expected.”
The Reds return to league action next weekend, when they visit Crawley Wasps DS on Sunday the 19th of January.