LSERWFL Div. 1 South Sun 7 May The Crucial Environmental Stadium
  • Worsfold (60', 63', 72')
  • Quayle (42', 75')
  • Russell (82')
  • Cooper (69')
  • Young (59')
  • Linscer (45')
  • Palmer (32')
  • Hotson (46')
New London Lionesses
  • Slater (37')

Report By Gareth Nicholas

Maddie Hotson, Sammy Quayle, Charlie Carter, Niamh Andersson and Emily Linscer all returned to the first eleven as Katie Young, Becs Bell, Katie Cooper and Captain Gemma Worsfold all had to be content with places on the subs bench. Hayley Bridge was missing altogether.

The home side dominated the early stages but only Andersson’s long ranger threatened the target, providing a comfortable gathering for visiting ‘keeper Amanda O’Neil.

Despite one side gunning for the top and the other consigned to a bottom-place finish, it needed a goal line clearance by Dani Dunkley to deny Chloe Winchester, after Quayle had lifted Carter’s through ball into her path.

‘Winch’ then stabbed wide of the near post, following Hotson’s run and byline pull back, while Andersson weaved her way into the area though suffered the frustration of seeing her shot roll just the wrong side of the back stick.

Try as they might, Reds were still having trouble breaching the Lionesses backline to serious effect.

Two further chances went begging when Linscer’s left wing cross was met by a stretching Winchester, who was unable to turn it home, coupled with Georgia Tibble also connecting, via a delivery off the opposite flank that concluded a driving run by Andersson, somehow diverting it behind for a corner.

Eventually, the pressure paid off as Linscer held the ball up on the edge of the ‘d’ prior to turning and threading through the eye of a needle for Rachel Palmer to set herself and drill under the unfortunate New London netminder. O’Neil redeeming herself a few minutes later when holding on impressively to Winchester’s close range attempt.

Eight minutes before the break, the visitors stunned their hosts by equalising, courtesy of a fine run by Jade Slater who seized on a mistake by Andersson, before racing clear, holding off Palmer and dinking high over an equally startled Lauren Dolbear.

Lincser glanced a Humphrey cross inches past the post and Andersson’s trademark burst and cut inside simply lacked the power to fully test O’Neil, as normal service resumed.

It didn’t take much longer for the homesters to regain their earlier advantage though, thanks to Hotson coming out on top in a midfield fifty/fifty with Polina Avramova – a scorer the last time we met back in December – driving forward and slipping in Quayle to her left. Sammy deceiving O’Neil at her near upright, six yards out.

There was even enough time for a third Worthing strike; the final sixty seconds seeing Linscer poke home to finally bring some penalty box pinball to an end. The drama caused by O’Neill pulling off a stunning one-handed save to keep out Ellie Russell’s header before pandemonium (briefly) ensued.

Artistry best summed up the opening salvo of the second-half, due to a fourteen-pass move, that started with Lincser’s kick-off, drawing to an emphatic conclusion when Hotson cut inside Lauren Worthy and curled a beauty past the fingertips of an outstretched O’Neil.

A touch off Anna Koscielska took the sting out of Quayle’s swivel and shot moments before a triple substitution had far reaching consequences.

Firstly, Bell teed up Worsfold to smack the upright, twenty yards away from it, then BB’s surge to the byline was halted by an excellent Imogen Dawe tackle; only for Young to intercept her attempted pass to Slater and blast goalwards. Well-struck it may have been but things took an unexpected twist when, in spite of initially stopping the effort, a tremendous amount of backspin caught out the luckless O’Neill and snuck past her at her near post.

Young changed tack to get Worsfold off the mark; ‘Gem’ finding herself in space on the right to latch onto the defender’s ball over the top and give O’Neil no chance to make it six of the best.

Six soon became seven, thanks to Tibble’s teaser from the opposite side brushing the barnet of Winchester en route to Club Skipper GW doubling her tally for the afternoon.

Worthing demonstrated their strength in depth once more, as Cooper climbed off the bench to stamp her authority on the game.

Starting and finishing a move with an attempt that drifted harmlessly wide of fellow replacement Sarah Jackett’s goal, KC made no mistake moments later. Worsfold expertly bringing down a Palmer pass, allowing ‘Coops’ to round off further fine play with her first of the season from just outside the penalty area.

The matchball then went to Worsfold after Tibble’s long through ball dissected the guest’s rearguard and the striker completed her treble with a little help off the inside of the far stick.

Fresh from becoming the sixth Rebel to hit double-figures this term, Gem aided Quayle in bagging her second of the match by audaciously flicking on Palmer’s left-sided cross for ‘Super’ Sammy to apply the coup-de-grace and see the rampant Reds hit a double of their own.

An offside flag denied Bell and only Tibble will know how she failed to convert Andersson’s right flank delivery, as the title-chasers continued to attack at will.

Jackett pulled off a terrific one-handed save to prevent Hotson bending in an eleventh, Tibble the architect again, before Russell did, appropriately with her eleventh of the campaign. The Tibble/Russell partnership that has borne fruit on numerous occasions in 2022-23, came up trumps for the upteenth time.  A GT flag-kick stabbed over the line by her chief partner in crime.

Quayle fired over and both Hotson and Worsfold landed one on top of the net from distance, sandwiching Worsfold’s overhead kick rippling the onion bag, only for the far side assistant referee to play the role of pantomime villain in ruling out a second Gem from Gem.