Following on from Wednesday’s battling victory at Haywards Heath Town, the hosts made three changes to the side that had started at Hanbury Park. Katie Young was recalled in place of the unavailable Emma Blakely, while Niamh Andersson and Sophie Humphrey were also brought back into the starting line-up, meaning Becs Bell and Chloe Winchester, initially, looked on from the bench.
Early opportunities fell to both teams, with Sammy Quayle heading a Rachel Palmer free-kick narrowly past the post and Becki Bath pouncing on a misplaced pass, only for goalkeeper Tia Ginn to snuff out the danger, for the guests.
In response, the visitors threatened twice through Shamoy Campbell. Firstly, flicking a close-range effort over the crossbar, after Player-of-the-Match Sam Lanza had helped on a Maisie Cannon corner, then seeing Palmer clear her next attempt off the line via the head, this time, of Jo Butler-Williams.The warning signs were there though and corner-taker Cannon fired the ball straight back in from the right edge of the penalty area, all the way through to the far side of the net to open the scoring.
Lanza let loose a few minutes later but Lauren Dolbear kept her out, before opposite number Ginn had to be alert when Quayle’s delightful reverse pass freed Bath in the box.
Roles then reversed slightly, courtesy of Quayle pouncing on Butler-Williams’ short back pass and seeming certain to equalise. However, Kelsey Smith had other ideas and denied the striker at close quarters at the relative inexpense of a flag–kick.
Despite the intense heat, Andersson, as usual, was uncatchable on the right and it was one of her lung-bursting runs that led to the next, self-created opening. Getting on her marks on the half-way line, Niamh showed a clean pair of heels to Sharne Harris then cut inside Ella Bonner on route to curling off target, twenty yards out.
Play soon switched to the other end again, where Dolbear needed her wits about her. An uncharacteristically heavy touch by Izzy Glass-Oliver was instantly seized upon by Megan Burrows, allowing Campbell to exchange a neat one-two with Lanza; running onto the number ten’s angled slide-rule assist prior to ‘Loz’ getting down low to tip round the upright.
The subsequent set-piece eventually found Harris outside the ‘d’ and the left-hand post took a battering, as Dolbear was left rooted to the spot.
Although, it didn’t take much longer for the Anchors to double their advantage. Campbell shook off Katie Cooper on the right flank and beat Hayley Bridge courtesy of a cross that dissected Young and Andersson; Burrows timing her run perfectly to get in between them and apply the finish.
Campbell might have had one of her own after the break, as she seized on Cooper’s unfortunate gift and surged into the penalty box but blasted behind, as she shot goalwards.
Persistence paid off for Bath to set-up Andersson who was frustrated by the sharp reactions of netminder Ginn and a similar approach nearly reaped it’s own rewards, thanks to Rowe reacting rapidly to intercept Liz Mulvaney’s miscued pass and setting Quayle free, on the left-hand side of the penalty area. Sadly, Sammy lost her footing at the most inopportune moment and the chance was gone.
Things got even worse moments later, via Sophie Lee just reaching Mulvaney in time for the midfielder to drive forward and unleash a long-range rocket that Dolbear could only push onto the underside of the bar and, unfortunately, in seconds before the referee announced “drinks break.”
Suitably refreshed, it was Worthing who were quicker out of the blocks at the resumption; Bath dispossessing substitute Giorgia Bracelli and forcing Ginn to get down and hold, from distance.
Lanza then broke free from a midfield scrap to make room for an effort that had Dolbear doing likewise.
Club Captain Gemma Worsfold, only on the pitch a few minutes, skied one that a lurking Lee acted as a decent distraction to, leaving little space for a go at goal. Fellow sub Winchester demonstrating nifty footwork after being picked out by Cooper to instigate proceedings.
An innocuous-looking delivery by Bell – sent on with ‘Winch’ as part of a two-pronged attack – offered a glimmer of hope, when Ginn dropped it onto her back stick but was able to gather at the second attempt.
Deep into added time, two replacements nearly combined to devastating effect, only for
Bracelli’s ball over the top to just run away from the recently introduced Maddie Thomas. No more salt would be rubbed in the wounds, though.