Report By Gareth Nicholas
Faced with a long trip down to the West Country and shawn of regular goalkeeper Lauren Dolbear, Club Captain Gemma Worsfold and midfield lynchpin Georgia Tibble, Manager John Donoghue gave competitive debuts to Summer signings Abi Dolding, Emma Blakely, Izzy Glass-Oliver, Dani Rowe and Becki Bath.
Portishead Town operate out of National League Division One South West, the same level their visitors now find themselves in, only the South East equivalent.
It was the Sussex side that settled a little quicker than their Somerset-based hosts, with Katie Cooper cleverly finding the room for a long distance shot that had ‘keeper Rosie Hill beaten but not the crossbar, after ten minutes.
Less than sixty seconds later, ‘Coops’ was involved again; exchanging passes with last season’s top scorer Chloe Winchester, before ‘Winch’s’ byline cross was shielded then fired on the turn by Bath, though Hill was right behind the ball on this occasion.
It came as little surprise, therefore, when Winchester helped break the deadlock, still inside the opening quarter of the contest. A perfectly threaded slide-ruler to Quayle saw ‘Super Sammy’ take it in her stride and dispatch clinically past Hill.
Both teams struggled at times on a bumpy surface and chances became sporadic at best. The closest either came almost saw Katie Young double the Posset’s deficit, as her cross nearly deceived Hill on it’s way to eventually dropping just wide of the target.
In fact, it took until five minutes before half-time for both Worthing and Quayle to make it two.
Rowe sent Sammy scampering down the middle, allowing her to ultimately come out on top in a fifty-fifty with the advancing Hill, then gladly accept the invitation of an empty net to tap home.
The result may have been virtually out of sight, thanks to the ball-winning skills of Cooper in the centre, ahead of Quayle finding Winchester who powered a low drive agonisingly close to the far post. So near, yet so far.
Right on the forty-five minute mark though, a third goal was indeed forthcoming. Mayhem created by Winchester on the right resulted in her blocked effort providing Quayle with an opportunity to make a name for herself, in more ways than one.
Trademarked as an ‘improvised, close-range, reverse, inverted scorpion back heel flick,’ the only downside to the treble-clinching moment of genius being the fact that BBC cameras weren’t there to capture it on film.
Just as well, in a way, too; Ruby Hopkins receiving a pull-back to blast over the top in a fortunately failed attempt to upstage the ‘you had to be there’ strike.
For those in attendance who might have missed Cooper’s earlier rocket that she launched onto the face of the top of the goal frame, KC offered a further ray of potential sunshine by performing an identical act to open the second period. Only this one made contact with the upright, at least thirty-five yards out.
Apparatus still, remarkably, standing, Glass-Oliver picked out Bath in the box for a header that purely lacked the power to unduly trouble netminder Hill, prior to Bath dumping Annys Turner on the floor. In footballing terms, you understand, not wrestling.
A sharp turn deceiving the White’s Player of the Match, as Becki brilliantly controlled Rowe’s ball along the flank and set initial namesake Becs Bell – on at the break for Sophie Humphrey – free for a shot that the late-arriving Alanna Torrington dramatically diverted behind for a corner.
Glass-Oliver meeting Rachel Palmer’s set-piece but marginally unable to generate enough oomph to threaten Hill’s net.
Scorer may have become provider, when Bath nodded a Quayle delivery wide on the run, only for Stella Gandee Morgan to potentially upset the apple cart by adding the gloss to some excellent build-up play, missing by the narrowest of margins.
Something that Palmer replicated following Rowe cutting inside Ffion James and setting up the Skipper to flash a finish dangerously across the face of goal.
Substitute Emily Linscer then made an immediate impact, staying onside to collect Bath’s precise chip forward, only to be denied at the last by Hill’s outstretched right boot.
Inside the last twenty, Young tried her luck from range once more, via the self-imposed dispossessing of Sandee Morgan, although an off-target conclusion decreed the score would remain unchanged.
Linscer and Bath linked-up again shortly afterwards; the former inadvertently blocking the latter’s first effort, before a second swivel and swing ended up a mere tad the wrong side of the upright.
In the final throes on an overcast afternoon, enveloped by the rolling hills of North Somerset, Bell’s ball to Bridge resulted in a wonderful roll of her own by her fellow sub, to dupe Lucy Hilton-Jones and lead Linscer to procure a flag-kick from it.
A dead-ball that Palmer one-twoed with Blakely and so nearly repeated her curling creation versus Moneyfields, bending onto the outside of the stanchion at the front stick.
Meaning Portishead drop down to the Plate, while Worthing march on in the Cup.