Worthing Women returned to league action in emphatic style on Sunday as they put five past Newhaven in their first competitive match since November.
Goals from Tammy Waine, Hannah Hewlett, Sophie Humphrey, Emily Linscer and Caroline Hodgson ensured that Michelle Lawrence’s side came away from a windswept Fort Road with all three points in their quest to make up ground on the league leaders.
It was the away side who came out on the front foot and they took the lead with less than 10-minutes gone when Waine reacted quickest to prod home a smart finish at the near post from a Sara Tubby corner to give her side an ideal start to proceedings.
Worthing continued to press forward following their opener, and they almost doubled their advantage on 16-minutes when Hodgson rattled the Newhaven crossbar with a stinging drive following a good counter-attack.
Worthing found their second goal two-minutes later when Tubby stole possession in the Newhaven final third and crossed for Hewlett who expertly found the bottom corner with a precisely placed effort to give the away side some breathing space.
Hungry for more goals before half-time, the visitors went close again on 22-minutes when Gemma Worsfold’s curling effort flew narrowly over from distance following another lovely passing move from Lawrence’s side. Tubby also went close on 29-minutes when her ambitious free-kick sailed wide.
Worthing did eventually make it 3-0 on 36-minutes when Chloe Lelliot found Tubby in space inside the box. Her powerful effort was well saved but Humphrey was on hand to convert the rebound ahead of the retreating Newhaven rearguard.
Following that third goal, Worthing introduced Annie Rolf and Beth Kincaid for Hodgson and Humphrey respectively as manager Lawrence looked to see out the remainder of the half with fresh legs.
On the stroke of half-time, Keavy Price went close to adding a fourth when her dipping effort from a cleared corner dipped narrowly over the bar.
With her side in control at the break, Lawrence brought on Linscer and Alice Walford and reintroduced Hodgson taking off Rolf, Humphrey and Sophie Grimson. In the opening five-minutes of the half, Worthing had a number of shots from range and eventually added a fourth goal on 54-minutes after Hodgson slipped the ball through for Linscer who produced a superb clipped effort over the keeper.
It could have easily been five for Worthing on 65-minutes when Kincaid blazed over from close range following another good cross from Hodgson. That was Kincaid’s last contribution as she was withdrawn for Rolf on 65-minutes, with Linscer and Hodgson off for Grimson and Humphrey.
Newhaven offered little threat going forward, and Rolf almost marked her competitive debut with a goal on 79-minutes when her powerful strike from distance was well saved, and she came even closer in the closing stages when her prodded effort slid just wide of the far post.
Lawrence made two final changes on 82-minutes, with Linscer and Hodgson returning for Lelliot and Tubby as Worthing looked to see out the final few-minutes of the game, and Hodgson got her rewards for a fine individual performance in injury time, when her low strike from range found the bottom corner to cap off a great afternoon’s work for the away side on their return to competitive action.
After the match, Waine said “It was good to get back on the pitch after another break in play. Although it wasn’t a perfect performance, it was a professional performance in difficult conditions. I was pleased to get on the score sheet, and I dedicated the goal to a team member who sadly had a family bereavement last week”.
Lawrence added, “Credit to Newhaven for getting the match played, the conditions in lead up to the match could quite easily have led to a postponement. As for our performance, the pitch was heavy under foot and played differently in different areas but despite that, the players moved the ball well and had spells of controlled possession but the decision making and execution in the final third could have been better but today was about securing three points. To keep a clean sheet in the process was particularly pleasing”.
Photo: Hannah Hewlett
Photo Credit: OneRebelsView