A double from Gemma Worsfold and a close-range finish from Hannah Hewlett ensured that Michelle Lawrence’s side picked up another valuable three points at a frostbitten Rookery in their final game of the calendar year.
The away side started brightly and had the first chance of the game inside the first minute, when midfielder Natalie Taylor found space inside the box but her prodded effort was well held by home keeper Serena Nappi. Caroline Hodgson also went close on 5-minutes, when her long-range strike flew narrowly over the Lewes crossbar.
Worthing eventually found the goal their start deserved on 16-minutes, when Worsfold’s low driven effort from the corner of the box beat Nappi at her near post following good work from Sophie Humphrey on the left-hand side.
The visitors had further chances to increase their early lead with Hewlett going close with a speculative lobbed effort on 20-minutes, before Hodgson forced an excellent smothering save from Nappi two-minutes later after she had burst through on goal. Sara Tubby was the next to go close for Worthing on 32-minutes, when she shot straight at Nappi when well positioned inside the box after more great work from the tenacious Worthing midfield.
Lawrence’s side found their second goal on 40-minutes, when Tubby picked out a perfect through ball for Worsfold who timed her run to perfection and arrowed a precise drive past Nappi and into the far corner to give her side breathing space.
Ahead of half time, manager Lawrence introduced Beth Kincaid for Worsfold to give Worthing extra energy as they looked to see out the remainder of the half with their clean sheet intact. Annie Rolf was also introduced for Humphrey at half time as Worthing came out looking to add to their two goal advantage.
Kincaid thought she had added a third for Worthing on 47-minutes when she was played through but a fine one handed save from Nappi denied her and her teammates a perfect start to the half.
Reds goalkeeper Lauren Dolbear was largely untroubled throughout proceedings, but she showed her quality on 52-minutes to tip over a fierce drive from Rookette’s winger Katie Young as Lewes looked for a potential route back into the game.
Worthing made their third changes on the 60-minute mark with forward Emily Linscer replacing Tubby in the forward line. Immediately following that change, Worthing came within inches of their elusive third goal when Rolf’s excellent curling effort smashed back off the crossbar, with Kincaid’s rebound also striking the woodwork.
The visitors would eventually grab a third on 63-minutes, when captain Hewlett bundled in from close range following a goalmouth scramble as Lewes failed to clear their lines from yet another Reds corner.
With her side firmly in control, Lawrence introduced Sophie Grimson and Alice Walford for Hodgson and Chloe Lelliott respectively on 71-minutes. Taylor and Linscer also made way five-minutes later for Worsfold and Tubby, who both rejoined the action as Worthing continued to rotate their squad.
With Lewes beginning to tire, Rebecca Thompson-Agbro almost added a fourth goal with 10-minutes to go when her header from a corner was deflected narrowly over by a Lewes head.
Worthing made two final changes with Humphrey and Hodgson replacing Rolf and Kincaid and saw out the remainder of the match with no issues to record a second win in a row.
After the game, goalscorer Gemma Worsfold was thrilled with her team’s application and attitude against high quality opposition. On the game, she said “Everyone put in a good performance today and it’s another important three points. It’s been difficult to maintain consistency in such a disrupted season but it’s important that we all remain fit and healthy over Christmas so that we’re ready to go again when we come back in January”.
Lawrence added, “Lewes are always tactically well drilled. The players are comfortable in possession, and they always pose a threat going forward. It was important that we were focused, minimised individual errors and took our opportunities in front of goal should they come and that is exactly what we did. Lauren pulled off a fantastic save at 2-0. If that goes in, momentum shifts and it would have been a nervous end to the match but as it was, we were able to get a third and see out the game. I was delighted to see Gemma get on the score sheet. She was actually an injury doubt going into the match so the fact she came through the match and scored two is testament to the type of character she is”.
The Reds now break for Christmas and await news of how government restrictions might affect January fixtures.