Following last week’s progression in the League Cup, it was all change once more as Becs Bell, Hayley Bridge, Sophie Humphrey, Georgia Tibble and Katie Young were all restored to the starting line-up.
The game took a while to get going but when it did it produced the contest’s opening goal.
After the first twenty minutes had passed by without incident, a centrally-placed Tibble picked out Humphrey on the left-hand side of the penalty area, where the striker beat goalkeeper Zoe McNulty at her near post to finally break the deadlock. Although Sutton’s number one would have been disappointed at not getting more on it.
Tibble nearly doubled the lead within sixty seconds once Ella Newman had played her in from the left, only for the crossbar to deny the influential GT. Chloe Winchester had the final word but couldn’t keep her shot down.
The latter pair endured further frustration moments later at the end of a barnstorming run by Newman, started when Rachel Palmer sent her on her way. Outpacing Aya Mirjan and delivering from the byline, Newman saw both Tibbs and Winch denied by some brave United defending.
Then, a flurry of net-bursting put the tie out of the visitors reach, with the Green’s rearguard breached no fewer than four times.
Livewire Ella adopted a calmer approach via a corner that Ellie Russell headed home to make it seven goals in three FA Cup matches for the so-called defender !
Shortly afterwards, Winchester got involved again by this time spotting Bell in space, in the box, on the right, with a brilliant pass that the speed machine soon turned into an assist courtesy of a low, drilled effort across the ‘keeper, to make it three.
A fourth wasn’t much longer in arriving and came through the medium of patience, as a calculated build-up led to Young – on the right of a back three – locating Palmer, who fired forward to Tibble to thread a wonderful slide rule pass for Newman to utilise her pace and get there ahead of McNulty who, as usual, was quickly off her line but not even the guest’s goalie could stop the Red Machine in full effect on this occasion.
Set-pieces were proving to be a useful tool in the host’s armoury and Newman in particular was having a field day.
Creating a clear opportunity for Russell that had been dispatched earlier on, the former Lewes flyer added to her own personal tally with a little help from McNulty. A second flag-kick seemingly dealt with until it wasn’t and Ella made it two for herself and five for her team, deep into first-half stoppage time.
Just shy of the hour mark and The Newman Show continued thanks to a low cross being side- footed at McNulty by Winchester, prior to Jasmine Backhurst’s corner almost pulling the South Londoners back into proceedings, only for Mika Keen to suffer the agony of seeing her attempt go narrowly over the top.
Far from being down and out though, Sutton threatened again a short while later when Olivia Watson forced Lauren Dolbear to divert a curling effort behind, to prevent it from sneaking inside the front stick.
Worthing’s custodian also came to the rescue following a rare misplaced pass by Bridge that resulted in Lily Dent pouncing on it but “Loz” was there to cut out the danger.
While the subsequent dead ball failed to yield any further potential breaches of the Red’s last line of defence, Bridge so nearly atoned for her error; Humphrey’s ball into the eighteen yard box only staying out due to a goal line clearance by Gabby Howell.
It fell to McNulty to dive out and hold a low ball that may have produced more, following a well-worked combination between Young and Newman that resulted in the latter surging past the aforementioned Howell, who was powerless to stop the home winger, before her teammate effectively did.
A little over ten minutes remained when Tibble allowed Bell to run at the opposition instead and duly procure strike six; breaking into the penalty area and drilling into the opposite side of the target.
However, rather than their heads going down, the Girls of Gander Green Lane came close to bagging what would have been a mere consolation. Millimetres separating the surprisingly free Dent from a moment of subdued glory as she fizzed an attempt across the face of goal.
Normal service soon resumed though as Newman regained control and Tibble lobbed a twenty-plus yarder over a stunned McNulty.
Although Dolbear still had to be alert to frustrate Watson in a one-on-one and McNulty breathed a huge sigh of relief when she let Humphrey’s shot squirm from her grasp and onto the upright behind. Substitute Cassie Brown perfectly placed to concede a corner.
One last flag-kick ended up leading to one last goal. At the conclusion of a Newman pull-back, Tibble exploded an effort into the bottom corner of the net, slightly further out than the lofted range-finder that had given her her first.