Following last week’s goalless draw at Dulwich, Manager John Donoghue elected to bring back Becs Bell, Niamh Andersson and Emily Linscer into the starting line-up. Leading to places on the subs bench for Ella Newman, Chloe Winchester and hat-trick hero from the previous round, Ellie Russell.
Sunshine and a light breeze greeted the two teams as they took to the field but it was the visitors who made the brighter start, thanks to Sophie Humphrey playing a long ball down the left for Bell to latch onto and eventually fizz in from the byline for Linscer, although the chance wasn’t taken.
The latter two linked up again less than a minute later, after Chloe Lelliott had instigated the move and Captain Gemma Worsfold had played the original role of provider. This time, however, the services of goalkeeper Evie Witek were required to maintain the status quo.
That all took place inside the opening five minutes and there would only be twelve showing on the clock when the deadlock was finally broken.
Rachel Palmer got things going by releasing Humphrey on the left flank once more; the striker proceeded to cut inside, drive into the box, skip past the challenge of Alara Tyrer and fire across Witek into the opposite side of the net.
Humphrey then nearly turned provider, regaining possession and Bell firing narrowly wide of the near post.
An identical beginning to the next attack by Andersson led to Worsfold advancing and Bell driving a low attempt a whisker away from the back stick, as she shot from an angle, left to right.
Reds continued their assault on the Richmond Park goal unabated and Witek was called into action to deny both Worsfold and Humphrey in quick succession, around the half-hour mark.
Although there was nothing even the impressive Richmond repeller could do to stop the guests stamping their authority on the game, courtesy of two goals in five minutes just before the interval.
Firstly, Bell was just too rapid in getting to the ball ahead of the overworked custodian to edge the away team in front.
Then, Linscer ran onto a through ball and broke into the area, where she held off her marker and slotted home number two.
Newman and Russell were introduced at the break and it didn’t take long for Ella to get involved in the action; surging along the left wing and making her way into the penalty area within sixty seconds of another forty-five getting underway. A first effort coming back to her, only for the far top corner to be evaded by the minutest margin second time around.
Leatherhead had been seen off to the tune of six goals to two to set up Sunday’s tussle in the shadow of Hampton Court Palace. The tie being particularly memorable for Russell’s trio of headers from Georgia Tibble corners.
Surely lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it ?
Nine minutes after the change of ends, the deadly duo resumed their partnership with eerie accuracy. Russell nodding in Tibble’s flag-kick to make it three-nil.
If anyone thought the outcome was settled though, they were very nearly made to eat their words as Lauren Hawkley exchanged passes with Indya Norton, forcing Lauren Dolbear to gather by the base of her front upright.
Not something you could accuse the Seasiders from Sussex of though, illustrated emphatically via Worsfold stinging the palms of Witek not once but twice. Newman spreading play out to Lelliott who picked out Gem twenty yards away. Followed by Bell landing a cross on the forward’s noggin and Witek tipping over the top.
Then, the net did ripple for a fourth occasion due to Tibble and Russell, well, you can probably guess what happened next ! Corner, header, goal, bosh.
If Richmond had initially looked relieved at not seeing Humphrey return for the second period, they had also been blissfully unaware of the threat that Newman possessed, as a typical long-range rocket was launched and, while it may have taken a nick off a dark green defender, there was no doubt who would rightfully be claiming it.
Deadly at one end but no slouch at the other, goalscorer soon became goal preventer when an unmarked Tyrer was presented with a sight of goal, only for Ella to ghost in with a superb, sliding block tackle.
Ten minutes after climbing off the bench, a seventh strike went to Winchester. Chloe meeting a Bell delivery from practically the corner flag and converting into the far bottom corner.
Flags and angles also featured prominently in an eighth and final goal for the travellers, as a consequence of a pairing that evokes memories of other great combos; Keegan and Toshack, Rush and Dalglish, Batman and Robin, Renee and Renato and others from somewhat less of a bygone era.
Yes folks, I’m talking about Tibble and Russell. They did it at Fetcham Grove and they repeated the feat at The Beveree when, with fifteen to go, Georgia’s flag-kick automatically zoomed in on the dome of Ellie to make it back-to-back headed hat-tricks in this year’s FA Cup. Guinness World Record, anyone ?
Unperturbed, the hosts had the final say by bagging a consolation shortly afterwards. Tyrer, on the right, afforded space to locate Hawkley in the danger zone for a close-range clip in.
However, normal service resumed for the final throes and the woodwork intervened again as double figures may have been hit. Instead, Witek’s front stick was to prevent Winchester doubling her own tally at the end of some good work by Linscer.
Tibble’s teaser whistled inches over the crossbar and Andersson’s slide-ruler resulted in Linscer being frighteningly close to the far post.
A trick (or treat) repeated by Bell, after doing all the hard graft prior to considering herself unlucky at not getting the reward her industry and guile had deserved; a stunning first touch, a lung-bursting run -incorporating a nutmeg on Megan Porter – and great through pass for Becs to beat the ‘keeper to the ball one last time but suffer the agony of seeing a concluding effort go the wrong side of the apparatus