LSERWFL Cup Round 3 Sun 5 February J Hearnden Skip Hire Community Stadium
Welling Utd
  • Andersson (5')
  • Young (23')
  • Worsfold (65')
  • Bell (89', 91')

Following last week’s emphatic victory over title rivals Millwall, Manager John Donoghue made three changes to the starting line-up. In came Bell, Charlie Carter, Emily Linscer and Keavy Price for the benched Sophie Humphrey, Rachel Palmer and Georgia Tibble, along with the unavailable Chloe Winchester. The fit-again Chloe Lelliott was also back amongst the subs.

Worthing got off to a bright start, when Katie Young tried her luck from distance after the space opened up in front of her, just two minutes in.

That effort was usurped moments later by Niamh Andersson, whose free-kick tight to the right-hand touchline sailed up and over the helpless figure of home goalkeeper Talisha Hickson, to hand the higher-league guests an early advantage.

Andersson nearly made it two, barely a quarter-of-an-hour into the game, as a similar set-piece – this time from the opposite side – drew a fine low save out of Hickson and Bell couldn’t quite keep the rebound down.

A shoot-on-sight policy continued to be adopted by the Premier Division leaders and Young once more got her eye in, thirty-five yards out. Only for a seemingly beaten Hickson, after an initial fumble, to turn around and grab the ball to stop it crossing the line, with millimetres to spare.

There was no doubt Young’s next attempt went in, midway through the opening period.

Price’s corner was cleared as far as the defender who caught it perfectly on the volley to double the advantage.

An underhit backpass offered the hosts a way back into the contest, after Hayley Bridge caught Carter by surprise but Liv McGregor’s shot lacked the power to trouble Lauren Dolbear.

The home team continued to peg the travellers back, thanks to Parker Dunn’s free-kick picking out top scorer and January’s Player-of-the-Month Sarah White at the far stick. Although able to get her head to it, the pace of the delivery proved just too much to be able to direct it on target.

White then came close to setting up a teammate herself, releasing Grace Laverick through the middle. Dolbear parried at the (near) post at the expense of a flag-kick which was subsequently cleared off the line by Young.

An uncontested drop ball led to the recently introduced Ellie Cole causing further problems for the Blue’s rearguard, forcing Dolbear to get down well and prevent Laverick profiting on a second occasion in fairly quick succession.

First-half stoppages saw Linscer come within inches of potentially silencing United’s rallying cry, by nodding fractionally the wrong side of the front stick, following Bridge’s left flank cross succeeding Bell’s cut inside.

A strange exordium, less than two minutes into the concluding forty-five, resulted in Amy Panayi dramatically dispossessing Young in the penalty area and stroking home past an equally startled Dolbear, to put a whole new complexion on the match.

Undeterred, a quickly taken throw-in by half-time sub Palmer soon sent Linscer clear down the left. A one-two with Price and a deep delivery later looked like resulting in a wild goose chase for Bell. However, a great piece of skill reversed a hemming in by the corner flag and Becs brilliantly left both Gracie Speak and Panayi behind to offer up a chance that Gemma Worsfold headed past the front post.

Palmer linked up with Bell more directly shortly afterwards; Panayi getting her own back by denying BB via a goal line clearance.

Rapid reactions by Tibble – only on for Andersson a few minutes earlier – may have produced a third strike but instead the midfielder would remain one way from reaching double figures for the season, thanks to her attempt flying narrowly over the bar from thirty yards.

Little more than half-an-hour remained when Carter started a flowing move that would lead to the afternoon’s key talking point. Slipping a forward pass through the channel that Tibble’s well-guided flick allowed Palmer to pick out Worsfold with on the precipice of the eighteen yard area; it’s what happened next that would have left even David Coleman/Sue Barker/Paddy McGuiness perplexed. (I know they don’t do that round on QofS anymore but you get my drift.)

Answers were suddenly being written down on postcards when Welling’s spirits were dampened by an unexpected penalty, awarded against them by the referee after consultation with his far-side assistant. Investigations have since unearthed an accidental picking up of the ball by a home defender under the impression that Tibble’s corner had gone out of play.

Despite the obvious delay, Captain Gem, who had seen her edge-of-the-box effort blocked by Cole to instigate set-piece number one, emphatically dispatched the spot-kick to turn the tide very much back in the visitor’s favour.

Fifteen to go though and the Wings showed few ill-effects; Dolbear out smartly to deny Liv McGregor joining White on thirteen goals after substitute Abi Potter-Scarborough had slipped her in. Speak locating the side-netting on the follow-up.

Worthing weren’t done either and a loose pass provided an unexpected opportunity for Worsfold to send in a first-time delivery that Hannah Gilmour bravely got in the way of to frustrate Bell.

However, nothing could stop Becs from bagging in the final sixty seconds of the scheduled ninety.

While ‘keeper Hickson will be disappointed at the winger’s low shot looping up off her grounded hand and coming back down to earth in the back of her net, she was powerless to prevent an identical attempt in added time putting the cherry on top of a hard-earned win. The returning Lelliott partly claimed responsibility for Gilmour simply being outpaced by the lightning-quick BB, who blasted  in off the far post to set up a tie at divisional rivals Sutton United this coming Sunday.