Sun 12 December Champion Hill Stadium
Dulwich Hamlet

The visitors started brightly and just seven minutes had passed when Ella Newman sent Sophie Humphrey scampering clear through the inside-left channel. Sarah Walters did her best to keep up but was powerless to prevent the striker getting in a low shot that goalkeeper Saskia Reeves-Priestly did well to turn behind, at virtually the last second.

Reds went in front with their next attack, thanks in part to Shawna Harvey – on early for Becky Simmons – being brought down by Walters.

Despite standing level with the outskirts of the centre circle in the Hamlet half, the mere fact it was on the pitch was (practically) enough for Katie Young, as she still beat the ‘keeper, even that far out; dipping the ball just under the crossbar and adding another goal to her bulging scrapbook of long-range screamers.

The lead was nearly doubled by the same player, only for both Zoe Elmore and Young to miss Newman’s corner and Harvey to turn sharply in the area but evade the far post by inches.

A great ball down the right by Chloe Lelliott released Humphrey again around the half-hour mark, with Jazmine Lacrette needing to be spot-on as she stretched to toe poke behind for a flag-kick.

Humphrey was proving to be a real thorn in the side of the hosts and Reeves-Priestly had to be alert to keep her out once more, when Gemma Worsfold became the supply line, before finally being beaten moments later.

Lucy Apps intercepted a forward pass then picked out her teammate with a left wing cross that rewarded Humphrey’s near post run, as she doubled the travelling tally.

A rare mistake in the Red’s rearguard gave the home team a window of opportunity they were unable to open, with Captain and top scorer Sophie Manzi firing over on the angle, just outside the box.

The assistant’s far side flag denied Harvey the luxury of a third approaching the interval, after Humphrey turned creator, slipped her in and the substitute had rounded Reeves-Priestly.

That chance coming shortly after Walters had kicked thin air instead of the ball, only for an unmarked Harvey to agonisingly miss the target.

Stoppage time brought about one final chance of the first forty-five for Young to test Reeves-Priestly from long-range. The number three sending one in all the way from Denmark Hill, following Minnie Crutwell stopping Newman in her tracks; a tackle that resulted in Ella having to leave the pitch prematurely, with Simmons returning to the action in her place.

Injuries weren’t helping matters for the Sussex-based guests but they failed to disrupt their rhythm, emphasised by Humphrey demonstrating her battling qualities and Worsfold picking up the ball-shaped baton, running with it, right to left, then sliding along the far side to Simmons who showed great strength to force her way past Lacrette, before unleashing into the far top corner.

Any thoughts of that being that were quickly dispelled by two goals in a matter of minutes, via the right boot of Crutwell.

Her first, a well-struck drive that flashed across goal and nestled in the opposite side of the net, giving Lauren Dolbear little chance, within sixty seconds of Beccy making it three.

Worthing’s custodian was given none at all when Crutwell’s cross from that same right flank clipped the inside of the back stick, to turn the last twenty into a far nervier affair than had been anticipated only a few short minutes earlier.

Nerves were set jangling inside the final ten, thanks to Chana Hind’s pass down the inside-left route eventually staying in play due to the sterling work of replacement Lucy Monkman. Asia Harbour-Brown took over, though she could only drill a delivery into the midriff of Dolbear as the netminder gathered safely.

An entertaining encounter concluded with a late break by Young moving onto Humphrey and a byline ball in so nearly converted by Worsfold, late in the day. On this occasion, it needed an equally late intervention by Walters to frustrate the away team and cost them a match-clinching fourth.

Two further corner kicks, emanating as a result, did little to affect the final outcome and a fully-deserved three points headed back to the South Coast.