FAWNL Division One South East Sun 10 December Sussex Transport Community Stadium
Cambridge City

Following the weather-induced postponement of last week’s game at the visitor’s local rivals United, it was a second attempt at playing at least one team from the University town, thanks to a player shortage forcing the Lilywhites to cancel a month ago.

Looking to bounce back from defeat at Ashford Town (Middx) fourteen days previously, Tierney Scott started alongside full debutant Shannon Albuery. Club Captain Gemma Worsfold and Becs Bell thus taking their places in the dugout.

A bright beginning to a bright afternoon saw the hosts set the standard. Sammy Quayle almost found Albuery in the box, only for Megan Edward’s clearance to be picked up by an alert Sophie Humphrey who threaded through to Bath. An awkward bounce right in front of the goalkeeper failed to put her off with Nina Meollo doing well to push a low drive behind for a corner.

That chance had come just four minutes in and it wasn’t much longer before Humphrey got to the ball first and, via a reverse backheel from Albuery, charged towards the eighteen yard area where she found Quayle. Unfortunately though, Super Sammy couldn’t quite convert a difficult opening.

The offside flag and a brilliant one-handed stop by Meollo conspired to deny Quayle soon after, then tremendous bravery nearly led to another opening for the prolific centre-forward but the two physio’s were required to see to both Sammy and the guest’s Milly Struthers. Sadly, the latter had to be carried off and Leila Awan saw an early introduction to proceedings.

Skipper Rachel Palmer tried her luck from distance, winning a corner courtesy of further fine work from Meollo in the City net. Dani Rowe played the set-piece short to Palmer, who’s cross was headed over by Chloe Winchester.

Cayleigh Jackson’s pace took her to the byline but Lauren Dolbear kept her out at the near post, in a rare sight of goal for the away side, with Katie Young mopping up.

Defence soon turned to attack, in first-half stoppages, when Rowe broke the offside trap to latch onto Young’s long forward pass and hold off the close attentions of Abbie Davies. However, Meollo blotted her copybook by bringing her down in the six yard box. Bath offered little chance of redemption as she emphatically dispatched the spot-kick.

Something Worthing’s leading scorer did again, early in the second period.
Getting the better of Davies while challenging for a long one over the top by Quayle, Bath tested the waters with an initial effort that Meollo repelled although, once again, Cambridge’s custodian wasn’t given a second sniff on the rebound.

Young then came close from a Palmer flag-kick prior to starting a move that ended with a third strike of the day for not only the home team but also treble-clincher Bath. A neat ball forward to Scott, who played a slide rule pass for Albuery to cut inside Georgia Anderson, allowed Bath to bury a blockbuster into the top corner.

Half-an-hour remained at this stage; leaving ample time for Scott and Albuery to link up once more to near-devastating effect but the latter, on the turn, fired past the post.

Not to worry though, as within seconds Palmer quickly had Humphrey scurrying to the byline, from where Soph was able to pull-back for Quayle to dummy and the incoming Scott to confidently side-foot home her maiden competitive goal for her new (temporary) club.

The long-ranger, Young, drilled a tad off target to complement excellent work by Amina Hanif, who teed-up Libby Fraser for an outside-the-area attempt at the other end that Dolbear fielded comfortably.

Into the final quarter of the contest, Albuery – now on the left – shrugged off Paige Gardiner to bend a brilliant ball into the path of the recently introduced Worsfold. Her subsequent picking out of fellow sub Bell led to Becs lining up an effort that flashed agonisingly the wrong side of the back stick.

A loose ball around the edge of the eighteen yard box which saw Becca Stephenson warm the gloves of Dolbear, acted as a mere prelude to Scott seizing upon the lightest of heavy touches by Jackson and embarking on an lung-bursting expedition. Eventually resulting in the presence of pursuer Davies and the reactions of Meollo preventing a fitting end to an incredible run.

All five of Worthing’s options on the bench were utilised with another one of them, Emily Linscer, simply lacking the power to trouble Meollo as Rowe chipped the ball into her just inside the danger zone, with the clock ticking closer towards time.

Alas, no further additions to the scoreboard meant a rise to fourth in the standings, a point ahead of next Sunday’s hosts Cambridge United.