Keavy Price – in her first start since October 2nd’s FA Cup win at Leatherhead – Katie Cooper, Birthday Girl Becs Bell, Charlie Carter and Hayley Bridge all came into the side. Leaving Katie Young, Ellie Russell, Niamh Andersson and Captain Gemma Worsfold to warm the bench. Injury also reduced Chloe Lelliott to a watching brief.
The hosts couldn’t have got off to a much better beginning than going ahead after only two minutes. George Tibble’s free-kick snuck through the defensive wall and Bell’s run was rewarded with a byline pull-back that Rachel Palmer crossed for Winchester to nod in off the far post, with a little help from the unfortunate Sade Rider in the visitor’s net.
Winchester should have doubled the deficit for the Kent-based guests a short while later but could only glance a Bell delivery the wrong side of the back stick on this occasion, after Palmer had set BB on her way down the left wing.
However, the tall centre forward made no mistake on the quarter-hour mark when she calmly slotted home an Emily Linscer lay-off, following an excellent first touch to a right flank Cooper cross that gave Em time to tee-up her teammate.
Sophie Humphrey was next in line to threaten the target, when she cut in off the left and forced a fine save out of Rider that the ‘keeper turned behind for a corner. The set-piece saw Kara Richardson head clear, although only as far as Palmer, outside the ‘d’, who couldn’t keep her shot down.
That chance had occurred either side of a Bridge bar beater and a Linscer effort that she pulled wide of the upright, as Worthing maintained the upper hand.
Despite their dominance though, the stripes of Aylesford got themselves right back into the game with the goal of the afternoon and half-time looming on the horizon.
After seeing her initial attempt blocked by Humphrey, Chole Fowler got away from both Soph and Tibble, by twisting one way then the other, prior to unleashing a twenty-plus yarder that flew over a well-beaten Lauren Dolbear, to put a whole new complexion on proceedings.
There was even enough time for Atlanta McLean to fire narrowly above the goal frame, almost as far out, once Richardson had laid on the opportunity.
The opening stages of the second period featured one of two interval changes, thanks to Andersson’s fizzer missing Lincser’s telling touch by inches.
It required an impressive low, one handed save by Rider to stop the same player adding a third off an identical route, before roles were reversed when Lincser, now in a more central position, picked out Andersson on the far side to take a touch and blast a low one that appeared to most – but crucially not the referee- to be tipped onto the far post by Rider on it’s way out for a flag rather the goal-kick that was awarded.
Cooper then became the latest in a red shirt to be frustrated by the travellers’ custodian, who pushed an out-of-the-area shot from an angle on the right over the crossbar.
Bridge had been Coop’s creator but Andersson would soon slip a delightful pass through the eye of a needle, that Linscer latched onto but blazed too high.
A brilliant move, commencing with Tibble winning possession in her own half, then led to Winchester helping the ball onto Andersson who stung the palms of Rider once more.
The scores might have been level though, when Dolbear had more time to deal with a long punt forward but ended up giving it straight to Fowler.
Fortunately, the number ten’s subsequent long-range lob, hit first time, dropped wide of a gaping goal.
A mazy run by Andersson, that got underway in the home half, culminated in a final finish a fraction past the far upright before Tibble notched a match-defining third.
Carter set the ball rolling by spotting Bridge on the left and Hayley clearly had Georgia on her mind, as she played an inch-perfect pass along the outside for GT to race away into the eighteen yard box and outfox Rider at her front stick.
While Sade (Rider) may have been less of a smooth operator on that occasion, the second of those half-time inductees, Worsfold, was, in any case, lying in wait.
Skipper Gem nearly did add her name to the scoresheet moments later, when she got in ahead of Brittany Harper to draw a more familiar outcome in the form of a parry. Tibble close to claiming an assist, courtesy of the also introduced Young’s centre circle rangefinder.
Less than sixty seconds earlier, Bridge had done a similar thing; collecting Humphrey’s flick-on from a Tibble teaser, only to find Rider in imperious form yet again.
Andersson’s influence on the action continued unabated; Rider diving late to push aside a free-kick that produced a corner instead of a goal.
Ski Sunday returned to BBC Two on Sunday evening and Humphrey did her best Mikaela Shiffrin impression by slaloming her way through a sea of blue and white, though her eventual shot lacked sufficient power.
Stoppages saw Winchester nearly seal the deal, after Russell had passed the baton onto Tibble who, in turn, had played a slide rule pass between Becky Burnham and substitute Stacey Glover. Rider swept away the initial effort with her right leg and Burnham showed good recovery skills to get in the way of Tibble’s follow-up.
One last hurrah resulted in, appropriately enough, Aylesford’s Girl in Green preventing Andersson adding some gloss to a tough afternoon; ensuring history wouldn’t be repeating itself by preventing Niamh getting the better of her at her near stick too.