FAWNL Division One South East Sun 31 March Sussex Transport Community Stadium
  • Humphrey (49')
  • Tibble (55')
Cambridge United

In an identical fashion to seven days previously, Georgia Tibble making her first start of the season, in place of the benched Emily Linscer was the only difference from the eleven that lined up against Old Actonians. While Izzy Glass-Oliver returned to the squad ahead of Ellie Russell.

Playing at the Sussex Transport Community Stadium for only the second time this calendar year, a bright yellow ball of gas (apparently called the “Sun”) made an equally rare but very welcome appearance, as the teams kicked off.

After recovering from the shock of seeing such an unusual weather phenomenon, it took seventeen minutes for a sight of goal to occur. Good hold-up play by Chloe Winchester allowed Tibble to clip a ball down the left wing for Shannon Albuery to latch onto, break into the penalty area and make room for a curling shot that grazed the far post.

Minutes later, Albuery rounded off a move that ‘Winch’ also started when she pounced on a loose ball before releasing her partner in crime once more. Showing admirable strength to hold off the close attentions of Rachel Kosky, it was Captain Abbie Jackson’s late intervention that eventually earned the hosts a corner.

The left flank continued to be a rich source for Worthing to exploit, with Tibble setting Albuery clear again just past the half-hour mark. ‘Shan’ got the better of Lauren Rouse then cut inside her prior to letting rip via her trusty right foot; watching her effort flash across the face of goal and agonisingly out of the reach of an incoming Becs Bell, at the back stick.

In response, Brooke Cheal-Ferris wasn’t far away either; whistling one a whisker past Lauren Dolbear’s right-hand upright, after Abbi Smith’s initial cross caused problems.

A misplaced midfield pass soon had Winchester stretching and Charlotte Gillies seizing on the loose ball, only to bend a tame effort into the grateful arms of Dolbear from slightly further out.

Stoppage time saw a switch to the right-hand side of the pitch, where Bell’s blocked delivery procured a corner. Tibble’s inswinger led to Winchester being denied not once but twice; firstly by ‘keeper Lauren Webb, then after a follow-up header drifted wide once Rachel Palmer had recycled and returned the ball to the danger zone.

Six additional minutes resulted in one final attempt of the half, thanks to Rowe setting Humphrey scampering through the middle who, in turn, slipped in Sammy Quayle. Webb was alert to the threat though, saving with her legs.
However, the opening exchanges of the second period saw Quayle receive Katie Young’s pass prior to neatly turning and shrugging off Kosky on the byline. SQ’s low cross finally found SH and Humphrey gleefully smashed home her first goal of the season, high into the net, from close range.

Home fans didn’t have to wait long for the lead to be doubled either, courtesy of Palmer playing it simple to Humphrey and the goalscorer laying the ball inside to Tibble. Advancing along the inside left channel, ‘G’ spotted Albuery’s perfectly timed run, then clinically dispatched her return pass from the corner of the six yard box.

Both sides made a double swap around the hour but it was Glass-Oliver who (almost) made the biggest impact; narrowly nodding Tibble’s delivery past the post, after the midfielder’s initial flag-kick had only been half cleared.

Looking to end a run of three successive draws, Tibble came mightily close to making it three for the afternoon. Frustrated by the outstretched leg of netminder Rouse brilliantly diverting behind, at the end of another excellent move that had seen Albuery backheel to Humphrey in the corner and the two goalscorers so nearly combine to deadly effect.

Humphrey had her head up again moments later, when she was the recipient of a quickly taken Palmer free-kick in the home half. Breaking clear to the byline, she pulled the ball back for fellow forward Winchester to side-foot a fraction over the top.

Subs were the order of the day as the clock ticked down, with Young sending the recently introduced Linscer on a charge towards the corner flag. A Cruyff-style reverse swivel by fellow inductee Gemma Worsfold gave Palmer the opportunity to fire in a first timer and an unfortunate handball by Gisela Otten, not on long herself, caught ‘Em’ by surprise. Leaving the striker unable to get a clean contact on a final finish and the chance to go begging.

Glass-Oliver’s quick throw-in afforded Dani Rowe an opening to play a slide-rule pass for Albuery, although Rouse wasn’t slow of thought either, coming out smartly to smother at her feet.

Two-nil is generally recognised as the most dangerous score in football; Glass-Oliver’s block in the box from Ruth Fox, sharply succeeded by a Cambridge corner cruising in one side and exiting out the other of the eighteen yard area proving a case in point.

Concerted pressure continued apace – four minutes past the allotted ninety – thanks to substitute Holly Plummer threading through the eye of a needle and Kosky’s instant shot causing a scrambling Dolbear to praise her (near) post. The ball subsequently squirming/back- spinning across an empty net but, luckily, there was no one in the vicinity to capitalise.