Report: Close But No Cigar

Dulwich Hamlet became the first team to stop Worthing winning and to stop them scoring this season as a closely-fought affair ended goalless.

Womens Full Time
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Dulwich Hamlet
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Worthing
LSERWFL Div. 1 South Sunday 16th October, 2022

A couple of changes to the team which started last Sunday’s emphatic victory at Saltdean United, saw Becs Bell and Niamh Andersson on the subs bench, to begin with, leading to places in the eleven for Katie Young and Chloe Winchester. Charlie Carter also returned amongst the replacements, where Assistant Manager Kelly Newton made her first squad appearance of the season, with Keavy Price and Katie Cooper both missing.

The visitors boasted a good recent record against their South London opponents, after claiming maximum points from their last three encounters, including a four-two home win in late August.

Looking to buck that trend though the hosts fired the game’s opening salvo, when Captain Sophie Manzi nodded the ball past Ellie Russell but was denied by the outstretched boot of goalkeeper Lauren Dolbear at the near post.

Reds responded through Russell, this time picking out Georgia Tibble on the left wing via a centre circle free-kick. Her cross was headed on by Skipper Gemma Worsfold in the penalty area for Hayley Bridge to return from the right byline and, eventually, find Sophie Humphrey to shoot wide of the target.

Humphrey then reversed roles slightly by slipping in Tibble who laid back to Worsfold to curl narrowly over the crossbar.

Less than a minute later, an unmarked Worsfold, on the right, allowed Bridge to drift inside and tempt Ella Newman to line up a low, driven effort that needed two attempts at gathering by Hamlet custodian Saskia Reeves-Priestley.

Dulwich enjoyed a profitable period on the left flank, particularly in the form of Madi Parsonson; the number two cutting in off it, evading the challenges of Bridge and Chloe Lelliott although, ultimately, drilling the wrong side of the near upright from long range.

However, the right couldn’t be ruled out either, ably demonstrated by a burst of speed from Rebecca May that took her past Rachel Palmer and led to Russell coming across to get in a terrific, clean sliding tackle to stop the striker in her tracks, on the edge of the eighteen yard box.

That had occurred a few short moments after a bloody nose had forced the unfortunate Winchester to be withdrawn for Bell.

The early exchanges following the half-time interval saw few chances for either side in a tight encounter that might have gone either way.

Although, the recently-introduced Becs passed up a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when Worsfold’s right-sided delivery presented her with a sight of goal seven minutes into the second forty-five. Bell, who bagged a brace in the win at Woodside, flashing an attempt across the face of goal.

Newman and Bell then linked up with twenty to go to almost devastating effect.

A corner by the former headed over the top by the latter as the guests maintained their quest for success.

Not long afterwards, Ella Wales-Bonner had them singing in the Valleys, as well as on the terraces, thanks to a neat turn to get away from Lelliott and supply substitute Saskia Philp. The forward finding Manzi in the danger zone, where Dolbear ensured home frustrations continued.

Barely pausing for breath however, Bell searched for her inner giraffe in a desperately-close move emanating off the foot of Newman once more. A zipping cross just unable to be converted by the galloping gazelle.

BB’s pace also ensured another close encounter, when she beat netminder Reeves-Priestley to the ball but fractionally failed to divert it on target.

Ten from the end and still with neither team having seized the initiative, Newman stepped up to try and take the points back to West Sussex.

Firstly, the grateful recipient of a Reeves-Priestly clearance, at a distance, that was rapidly returned with interest, though caught fairly comfortably by a relieved shot-stopper.

 

Secondly, some good hold-up play by Humphrey enabling Ella to go for glory a long way out and finish a short way wide, before a third and final attempt – the closest Dulwich or Worthing had come to pocketing the points – causing the top of the goal frame to shudder as the winger bounced one of the bar, twenty to twenty-five yards away from it.