Report By Gareth Nicholas
Following on from last week’s demolition of New London, Hayley Bridge returned to the first eleven as did Katie Young, Club Captain Gemma Worsfold, Becs Bell and Katie Cooper. That meant Niamh Andersson, Maddie Hotson, Sophie Humphrey, Emily Linscer and Charlie Carter would have to wait patiently for their opportunities on the bench.
Despite probably looking forward to seeing the back of their hosts after suffering defeat three times already this season, it was United who threatened to take a shock lead when Ellie Russell lost possession. Katie Young ending those hopes via a fine covering tackle.
The same player then made an equally decisive impact at the other end; seeing Bridge dummy her pass to Bell that allowed the Speed Queen to make hay through the inside right channel, before lodging a shot in the side netting.
Eventually, Rachel Palmer’s long ball over the top was missed/spilled by Goalkeeper Zoe McNulty. Worsfold instantly pouncing on the custodian’s mistake to break free and smash home into an unguarded net.
The same player was slightly further out when doubling both her and her team’s tally after around half-an-hour. A penalty was awarded following Abbie Measures’ foul on Chloe Winchester. McNulty went the right way but Gem’s pen buried itself in the bottom corner.
Well on top, Worthing stretched their legs and increased their advantage further a few minutes later. Once again, Young was involved in creating the opening; beating Anjola Ogunyemi to the ball, skipping past Laila Malcolm and seeing her powerfully-struck shot initially saved by McNulty into the path of ‘Winch,’ who slotted home the rebound on the angle, from six yards.
Sammy Quayle, already with an impressive seven goals in five games since signing from Portsmouth, set up Bell for a break that ended with Becs picking out Winchester at the back stick but the top scorer couldn’t quite direct her effort on target.
More excellent approach work was met with another fine finish, as Quayle altered those figures above to eight in six. Worsfold slipped in Palmer inside the eighteen yard box who squared across it for Super Sammy to make it four.
A half-cleared Georgia Tibble corner fell nicely for Young to volley narrowly over the target, nearly twenty yards out and, in almost the same breath, a delightful reverse pass by Worsfold saw Quayle denied by McNulty’s alertness when coming out to block the deadly striker.
Unfortunately, Skipper Worsfold limped off in the early stages of the second-half but there would be no let-up from a home team looking for success on two fronts this term.
Quayle turned on Young’s forward pass to make a defence-splitting one of her own, as Bell broke the offside trap, touched the ball past McNulty and watched it roll into the empty net.
Overworked and underpaid, Sutton’s number one was called into action shortly afterwards to prevent Quayle profiting again. Cooper seizing on a loose ball and giving Humphrey licence to cut inside off the left flank, ride the tackle of Lindsay Virgilio, then see Sammy denied by McNulty’s finest work yet.
The U’s goal continued to lead a charmed life; Humphrey blasting a self-created opportunity above the bar, while Winchester, Quayle and Tibble attempts all simply lacked the power to trouble McNulty who also left her line smartly to ensure Quayle didn’t profit from Tibble’s slide-rule pass. Winchester’s follow-up drifting harmlessly wide, as the striker did well to get something on it.
Bell’s byline burst forced the travelling netminder into a two-handed parry, frustrating an under pressure Humphrey at the far upright into the bargain. Virgilio doing the pressurising and able to bring the ball out.
However, a sixth strike did follow. Quayle’s cross controlled and dispatched with aplomb by Tibble.
Goal difference is proving significant in determining the destination of the London & South East Premier title and the homesters were eating into Ebbsfleet’s previously healthy superiority on that front too.
Palmer bent a beauty into the recently introduced Linscer from just inside the opposition half. ‘Em’ held up and reversed a pass into the overlapping Winchester, who sidestepped Eloise Williams, only to fire high over the crossbar.
Fellow replacement Hotson joined the party and soon had Humphrey having to settle for a flag-kick after she’d outmuscled Williams, although McNulty ensured the set-piece took place.
The subsequent dead ball delivery of Palmer glanced wide by Young.
Fittingly, in a way, the final word of the afternoon went to Sutton, via Bridge leading the charge of the Light Brigade.
Jaz Backhurst’s free-kick hit the wall and ‘Bridgey’ quickly turned defence into attack. Spreading play out to Andersson on the left who showed a clean pair of heels prior to passing the baton onto Palmer, whose potential assist was diverted narrowly over her own net by a well-recovered Ogunyemi.