Match Report: Gareth Nicholas
It was the visitors who threatened first when Summer Dutton’s free-kick from inside her own half was only partially cleared by Keavy Price, with Lucy Collinson’s attempted lob bouncing off the top of the crossbar.
However, the hosts responded when Ella Newman did well to win the ball in midfield; flicking the ball over her marker’s head as she turned and drove forward, before unleashing a rocket of a shot from all of thirty yards that had our former netminder Annie Hills, in the ‘haven goal, beaten all ends up.
Katie Young then came close to doubling the lead twice in the space of a few minutes. A twenty-five yard free-kick whistled narrowly over the target, followed by a second set-piece that hit the crossbar from even further out, moments later.
Around the midway point of the opening period though, it became a case of “ if at first you don’t succeed ” as Young delivered a dead ball, almost level with the Worthing dugout, that picked out the perfectly-timed run of Sara Tubby, who beat the offside trap to slot past the advancing Hills from the edge of the eighteen yard box.
A relentless red machine were unlucky not to increase their lead further, thanks to Price playing a lovely long pass for Sophie Humphrey to chase, only for the ball to just sneak through to Hills.
Two did become three a matter of seconds later, when Allana Lessels gifted possession straight to Gemma Worsfold; the number ten holding off the left-back and bursting to the byline, where her initial shot was stopped by Hills on the line but the goalkeeper could do nothing to stop the same player knocking in the rebound.
A fourth soon followed as Hills failed to hold on to a Humphrey flag-kick, leaving Walford with the simplest of chances to head in an inch out.
Newhaven had a rare opportunity to get themselves back in the game after Price gave the ball straight to Holly Kelley, who released Captain Lauren Smith. She broke into space on the left before locating Katie Franks on the opposite corner of the six yard area but her first-time effort landed on top of the net.
Shortly before the break, Young had a good go to make it five, when Newman’s corner sailed over everybody to the tall defender at the back stick but she could only poke the wrong side of it.
There was some debate as to who got the sixth, seven minutes into the second forty-five with Hunphrey initially announced as getting the final touch on Worsfold’s parried cross, after Newhaven had conceded possession cheaply on the right flank. However, it later transpired that despite that being partly true, the ball had already gone over the line and so it was Worsfold celebrating her second of the afternoon, instead of Humphrey her first.
Hills made no mistake when she raced out of her goal to intercept and clear into touch to prevent Humphrey getting off the mark before gathering fully, at the second attempt, as the striker latched on to a long Young through ball, right down the middle but her shot from inside the ‘d’ lacked power.
The Reds number nineteen didn’t have to wait much longer to open her account for the afternoon though, as Worsfold controlled and helped on a Tubby throw-in; allowing substitute Lucy Apps to break away on the left wing and send in a low delivery that saw Humphrey get in front of the recently introduced Natalia Laszkiewicz and sweep home high into the roof of the net, at the near upright.
Replacement, Sophie Grimson spotted Chloe Lelliott in space, although her low effort from distance presented Hills with a comfortable save and the winger herself then nearly set-up Humphrey to complete her brace, only for the striker to hold off Laskiewicz and fire straight at Hills too.
The higher-league hosts continued to pile forward and Humphrey took Apps’ pass in her stride before trying her luck a long way out; with her attempt dipping a fraction too late and resting on top of the net.
Just when some people thought it was all over, Collinson robbed Lelliott with five to go and slipped Kelley in. Unfortunately, the ‘haven striker came off worse in a fifty-fifty challenge with Worthing custodian, Lauren Dolbear and after lengthy treatment from the physio was forced to leave the pitch on a stretcher. To make matters worse, the East Sussex-based visitors had to see out the remaining time a player light, having used all their permitted subs.
It had gone four o’clock by the time the referee finally blew his whistle, signalling the continuation of our one hundred percent home record alongside a place in the third qualifying round with a resounding victory.