Friendly Sun 12 November Sussex Transport Community Stadium
Portsmouth DS

Following last week’s postponement of the Cambridge City game, coupled with an early FA Cup exit, this friendly was arranged to avoid both a three week gap between fixtures and offer a chance for those carrying knocks to regain fitness.

That led to Becki Bath and Sammy Quayle getting forty-five minutes each, alongside goalkeepers Abi Dolding and Lauren Dolbear. There was also space for a pair of obligatory trialists, although one had (secretly) turned out in Red at Bognor back on the 2nd of August. Only that match report never made it out into the wider world of readership.

After the under eighteen’s morning kick-off had seen a total of sixteen goals, it only took seven minutes for the scoring in this one to get underway. Scott’s deep left wing cross looping over Emily Paines in the Pompey net to see her open her account for her temporary new team, against her Parent club.

Dani Rowe nearly doubled the advantage moments later, as the hosts put their guests under pressure but the midfielder had to settle for a corner instead.

The Hampshire visitors then created their first real chance of the afternoon; Maisie Aldridge a whisker away from a free-kick, before a hurried clearance by Captain Skye Granger cleared up a moment’s hesitation between her and custodian Paines, with Emily Linscer ready to pounce.

Linscer came even closer seconds later, thanks to our own Skipper Gemma Worsfold picking out ‘Em’ who was denied at close quarters by Paines.

Continuing a one woman crusade, Linscer soon ran onto a ball through the inside-left channel by Rowe to advance, cut inside Calla Swain though, ultimately be frustrated by Paines once more.

That opening procured a flag-kick taken by Rowe and kept out yet again by the Blue’s number one, when Becs Bell got her head to it.

Finally, Paines felt some of her surname, courtesy of Katie Young putting an end to a mini-scramble in the area to round off Rachel Palmer’s right-sided delivery at the second time of asking.

Young then released ‘The Speeding Bullet’ otherwise known as Niamh Andersson down the same flank. Aimee Woodard gamely gave pursuit until Paines (eventually) came out smartly to smother.

The same player hit the side netting shortly afterwards via a low, powerful attempt prior to Granger getting in the way of Linscer’s latest shot and Bell not missing by much on the follow-up.

Clearly inspired by Andersson’s acceleration, Chloe Winchester embarked on a strong, powerful burst along the right; drawing a parry out of Paines that Granger mopped up in front of an otherwise unprotected target.

However, the half concluded with Aldridge performing a ‘Cruyff Turn’ on Palmer and watching her byline ball fractionally fail to be converted by Leah Knapp’s noggin.

Substitutions at the break resulted in just Jess Soares replacing Dakota Enikova for Portsmouth, while Dolbear, Bath, Quayle, Sophie Humphrey and Trialist #7 joined the action from a Reds point of view.

Among those introductions though, it was the familiar face of Aldridge causing trouble during the opening exchanges of the second period; stabbing a tad the wrong side of the far post.

Less than a minute further into proceedings Maisie (Aldridge) made mayhem in the form of a sharp swivel and shot from distance that also flashed a fag paper’s width wide.

Unable, despite her best efforts, to match the feats of her legendary namesake John, a flowing front-to-back move instigated by Andersson’s perfect pass out to the recently introduced Humphrey was cut back to fellow sub Bath to bury inside the box.

Three looked like it had quickly become four, only for Paines to push Quayle’s drive onto the inside of the far upright and out again. Dolbear going long and Sammy, literally, running with it.

No doubt surrounded the bagging of a brilliant fourth strike, in the blink of any eye, when Trialist #12 made a name for herself, in a manner of speaking, seven minutes after climbing off the bench. Still unable to be revealed, a rasper rippled the back of the net to get the mystery player off the mark in her second appearance for Worthing.

Three-quarters of the way through an increasingly moist match, Winchester showed no signs of slipping up as she broke through the inside-right passage to calmly slot home a well-deserved fifth.

‘Winch’ then watched an audacious attempt, via a first-time side-foot volley, threaten to punish (stranded ‘keeper) Paines, who breathed a sigh of relief when Chloe’s tribute to (Fin/Chopper) Chadwick ended in a goal-kick rather than a goal.

Fifteen remained on the clock at the precise time the unidentified wearer of shirt number twelve went within a whisker of setting up Sammy for a sixth, Quayle going close but not quite close enough.

Finally, Dolbear’s booming ball downfield to Bath evaded the crossbar by the tightest of margins, with Becki boldly trying to bag a brace but a fab five it would stay and everyone on the pitch could escape the wet weather in the sanctuary of a warm, dry dressing room.