Sun 5 December The Crucial Environmental Stadium

A chilly afternoon warmed up for the home fans when the aforementioned Newman received a short free-kick from Katie Young on the left and eventually drifted inside, before firing narrowly off target around thirty yards out.

The pair linked up again less than a minute later – this time on the opposite side – when Newman’s corner picked out Young sliding in at the back stick but not quite able to apply a more telling touch.

However, despite a positive start it was the high-flying guests who went in front, approaching the midway point of the opening period.

Megan Mansfield took a short throw-in on the right and, upon receiving it straight back from it’s recipient Emily Read, sent over a cross that saw namesake Vaughan climb above Keavy Price to head home.

Reds responded via Newman capitalising on a defensive gift from the Darts to earn a flag-kick that she took herself; Sophie Humphrey’s low, edge-of-the box drive contained sufficient power, just not the accuracy.

It didn’t take much longer for the home team to make their impressive start count though and it was certainly worth the wait.

Becs Bell robbed her opposite number Alicia Gibbs and released Humphrey, who found Newman slightly left of centre. The winger took the pass in her stride before unleashing a screamer into the top corner, more than twenty yards away, leaving goalkeeper Jade Charlton clutching at thin air, to level the score.

Parity only lasted a few minutes, as Newman soon doubled her tally to edge her side in front.

Price dispossessed Shauni Griffiths on the right flank and allowed Bell to scamper clear then locate Newman, who arrived in the area to side-foot a second.

A strong challenge on Beccy Simmons by Kimberly Green provided Young with a chance to increase the advantage. Typically undeterred at being at least thirty-five yards out, Charlton was forced into a two-handed tip over the top at the expense of another set-piece.

Looking to atone for her earlier error, Gibbs ensured Lauren Dolbear needed two attempts to safely gather her close-range effort, as the Kentish visitors threatened an equaliser.

They came even closer when Katie Butts’ byline delivery was met with an air-kick from Price but Dolbear was there to divert Griffiths shot behind for a corner.

The last word of a fine first forty-five led to Lizzie Adams heading a great opportunity over the crossbar, once Joanne Woodgates had spotted her effectively unmarked in the six yard box.

Early after the change of ends, an improvised overhead kick resulted in Adams taking an unfortunate whack in the chops, with Young trying to prevent her nodding the travelling team back in front; the ball landing on top of the net.

Fully recovered, the Skipper experienced greater fortune by pouncing on Vaughan’s inadvertent backheel to Sacha Brinkley’s forward pass, to beat a stranded Dolbear from distance.

Worthing’s netminder needed to be alert moments later when Gibbs’ ball in off the left wing went all the way through to Vaughan, only for Dolbear to deny her not once but twice to keep the deficit down to one.

Woodgates flashed a free-kick marginally the wrong side of the upright, amid appeals a deflection off the defensive wall had taken it behind, although the appeals fell on deaf ears.

Dolbear kept her team in it again; pulling off a top-draw stop to turn Adams’ low attempt round the front stick, as the hosts remained under constant attack and half-an-hour still displaying.

Two goals in ten minutes put the game to bed, thanks to a touch of luck mixed in with a sprinkling of controversy.

Firstly, Brinkley’s deep delivery rebounded off the unlucky Amy Critchfield, which Vaughan duly punished. The goal standing despite Price having to leave the action prematurely and Thorns not able to get on in time to replace her.

Substitution duly made, a slip at the vital point by Humphrey at one end was rapidly succeeded by Gibbs’ low effort sneaking inside Dolbear’s right-hand upright at the other; set-up, ironically, by another replacement in the shape of Nicha Dyett.

Inside the final ten, Dyett was at the forefront of an incisive counter that resulted in her teeing up teammate Griffiths to sting the palms of Dolbear, from range.

Stoppage time produced out one last effort from either side; some penalty area pinball eventually drawing to a close via the left foot of sub Georgie Davis brushing the rear wheel of the goal and Gemma Worsfold snatching at a consolation deep into the extra period, after she found herself in a good position close to goal, only to put the opening at the back of the net rather than in it.