FAWNL Division One South East Sun 8 October Rectory Park Football Centre
  • Bath (45', 52')
  • Quayle (15')

It was a case of three in, three out at Rectory Park, home of the Middlesex FA as Hayley Bridge, Sophie Humphrey and Emily Linscer came in for Niamh Andersson, Gemma Worsfold and Becs Bell.

Warm sunshine greeted the teams and it was the hosts who turned up the heat inside the first ten minutes, courtesy of a weaving run by Maria Ledezma-Viso that had the visiting defence on red alert.

Despite that though, on the quarter-hour mark, Worthing’s best chance up to that point produced the game’s opening goal. A superb Katie Cooper through ball saw Quayle hold off the close attentions of Olivia Clement, when she slid in to meet the ball ahead of her marker and force it home.

The pair almost linked up to devastating effect again thanks to ‘Coops’ clipping one over the top for Sammy to approach the target at an angle but, sadly, she couldn’t keep her effort down under pressure from Isi Meade.

A tight first-half resulted in few real goalscoring opportunities, until, shortly before the break, Ledezma-Viso’s left wing free-kick went all the way across to Justine Buckmire-Monro, who suffered the misfortune of a miskick at the most inopportune moment.

That (relative) profligacy was duly punished by a ruthless Reds, thanks to Captain Rachel Palmer’s own set-piece prowess.

Her initial corner was won in the air by Emma Blakely and recycled by Player-of the Match Bridge back to the taker. Palmer’s follow-up delivery picked out Bath in the box and Becki applied a calm finish to double the advantage.

Blakely was possibly close to making it three, further into stoppage time, only for Katie Young to get her head to the ball instead, in what appeared to be a case of miscommunication.

Several extra minutes had had to be added due to Humphrey receiving treatment for an ankle injury that had resulted from an awkward landing. Unable to continue, Andersson’s subsequent introduction in her place immediately gave the home team extra food for thought, via Niamh’s tremendous tenacity and searing pace.

The early stages of the second period saw Young finding Bridge on the inside to pass onto Bath for a dipping, long range attempt that drew an excellent, full-length, two-handed save out of custodian Elisa Dogor.

Although the following flag-kick may have come to nothing in the end, it didn’t take long for Bath to make her mark once more.

An on-fire Cooper continued to showcase her range of passing by dissecting the Accies backline to set-up a match-clinching third, with more than half-an-hour still to play.

Bath latching onto it and advancing before coolly dispatching her second of the day.

A cheeky backheel by Roschelle Shakes threatened to release the recently introduced Amber Dredge but it was Worthing who came closer to bulging the net, on a fourth occasion.

Andersson reacted sharply to steal possession on the halfway line, tear up the left flank and break into the penalty area, where a perfectly-timed last-ditch tackle by Olivia Clement brought about a corner rather than a goal.

An ankle knock suffered by goalscorer Quayle forced her withdrawal with fifteen to go – Choe Winchester entering the fray – joined shortly afterwards by a limping Palmer, who’s calf problem meant that the Sussex side were forced to see out the game a player light, having used all their permitted subs.

Leaving the away dugout resembling an episode of Casualty, as Physio Maisie ‘Florence Nightingale’ Preston more than earned a slice or two of post-match pizza and Birthday cake.

Old Actonians then took the gauntlet and ran with it; Lauren Dolbear using her trusted right foot to keep out Ledezma-Viso after Jas Williamson had slipped her in.

Both each had shots off target in the final ten minutes of a contest that had taken a dramatic twist, as new opportunities now presented themselves, while ‘Loz’ also claimed a right-sided free-kick to keep her sheet very much clean, moments later.

Despite facing adversity though, Reds restricted the Blue-and-White Stripes to just two further bites of the cherry.

Entering a lengthy added period at the end of the match, Camila Orozco Saenz could only watch her edge-of-the-box effort fly wide, prior to one final dead ball situation offering one last chance to Izzy James.

On earlier for Sarah Coomson, James had a relieved travelling contingent sitting down again, after her free-kick went over the top to end what had turned out to be an eventful afternoon, in more ways than one.