Worthing Women bounced back from their league defeat last time out in perfect style, as they hit Sutton for six without reply to progress to the second qualifying round of The Vitality Women's FA Cup.
A hat trick from Caroline Hodgson, and strikes from Rebecca-Thompson-Agbro, Gemma Worsfold and Sara Tubby ensured a comfortable victory for Michelle Lawrence’s side at a sun soaked Crabtree Park in Wick.
The Red’s started the brighter of the two sides and opened the scoring after just five-minutes when Tammy Waine failed to connect with a Sara Tubby cross but Thompson-Agbro was on hand to bundle the ball home from close range to give her side the perfect start to proceedings.
Worthing continued to press after securing the opener, and they doubled their lead just three-minutes later when Worsfold collected a fine through ball before rounding the keeper and slotting into an unguarded net for the simplest of finishes.
Despite their confident start, the hosts’ lead was almost halved on 10-minutes. A loose pass from goalkeeper Lucy Apps gave Sutton forward Sophie Barnes a clear sight of goal, however the Worthing keeper atoned for her error by smothering the striker’s effort, keeping her clean sheet intact.
Worthing came close to their third goal on 20-minutes but Hodgson was denied by a great sprawling save from visiting keeper Paige Hersey after the Worthing winger had been smartly picked out by Worsfold in the box.
Worthing did find their third goal just two-minutes later when Hodgson clipped a delightful lobbed effort over Hersey from the edge of the box following a fluent passage of play from the home side, for her first goal of the game.
Captain Hannah Hewlett was the next to go close for Worthing, when she fired narrowly wide from close range on 31-minutes after being found by Hodgson’s run and cutback as the hosts continued to dominate. Hewlett turned provider for Worthing’s forth on 39-minutes when her run and cross was expertly fired into the bottom corner by Hodgson to give Worthing a four-goal lead at half time.
Lawrence’s side came out with the same high intensity for the second period and they found a fifth goal on 50-minutes. With Sutton pressing for a route back into the game, the hosts broke away on the counter and Hodgson sealed her hat trick with a close range finish at the back post after Barnes had made a stunning close range save from Hewlett just seconds earlier.
Following that fifth goal, Manager Lawrence introduced Tegan Andrade-Paris, Beth Kincaid and Sophie Humphrey for Sophie Grimson, Hodgson and Worsfold respectively to give her side fresh legs going into the final half hour of the contest. Chloe Lelliott also made way for Sam Mee five-minutes later as Worthing continued to manage the game efficiently.
Kincaid had her first chance of the game on 68-minutes when she flashed a driven effort across the face of the Sutton goal and narrowly wide after an excellent run down the right hand side. Tammy Waine then went close on 72-minutes when she volleyed over from a Tubby corner.
Worthing’s final substitution came 15-minutes from time when Alice Walford replaced Natalie Taylor as The Red’s looked to see out the final-minutes of the game with minimal difficulty.
Tubby capped off a fine performance for Worthing when she added a sixth in injury time. Sutton were again caught high up the field, allowing the Worthing forward a clean run through on goal, and she made no mistake with a calm finish seconds before the final whistle.
That was the final action of a fine afternoon’s work for Worthing, who will now face a trip to New London Lionesses in the second qualifying round of the cup after Sunday’s victory.
Speaking after the game, hat trick hero Caroline Hodgson was delighted to progress to the next round of the cup after a hard afternoon’s work. She said ” It was important for us to bounce back after our last league game, and we were raring to go today! We dictated the play today and looked very dangerous going forward, it was lovely to have so many supporters here today and they definitely gave us a boost. I’m really enjoying my football and being a part of this team, getting three goals today was the perfect bonus for me personally.”
Speaking on the FA Cup, Hodgson was also keen to highlight how it gives teams an added incentive. She said “Every football fan and player loves The FA Cup, and it’s special to be a part of it. We are looking forward to the next round and if we can continue to perform like we did today, there’s no reason why we can’t reach the later stages”.
Manager Michelle Lawrence was also pleased to see her side secure a place in the next round of the cup. On the win, she said ” We were clinical in the majority of our key moments today and it was pleasing to get back to winning ways at the first time of asking. Credit to Sutton, who made things difficult for us for the whole 90-minutes. Cup competitions provide a great added incentive for us and next week’s game represents another big challenge. A performance of similar standards will be needed if we want to come away with another positive result next week against a side full of quality”.
The Women take on New London Lionesses in the Second Qualifying Round at Barn Elms Sports Ground (SW13 9AS) in Sunday, KO 2pm.