Worthing Women sting Crawley Wasps to make it a perfect ten
Worthing Women made it ten South East Counties Premier Division wins in a row as they battled to a narrow 3-2 victory against a strong Crawley Wasps development squad side at a bitter and sun-soaked Ewhurst Playing Fields.
A double from Gemma Worsfold and Rebecca Barron's first goal for the club ensured the Reds maintained their 100 per cent league record.
The hosts were gifted a fantastic opportunity to open to scoring from the penalty spot on 17 minutes.
Worsfold inexplicably blocked a cross with an outstretched arm as she looked to provide defensive cover.
After taking responsibility, forward Danielle Boyd confidently dispatched her spot-kick low to give her side the lead.
However, that lead was to be short-lived for the hosts as Worthing levelled 27 minutes.
Barron won back possession in midfield before unleashing a first-time effort which looped into the roof of the net with the Wasps goalkeeper seemingly blinded by the powerful sunlight.
With half time imminent, Worthing took the lead thanks to a fantastic effort from Worsfold.
Her initial cross well defended, but the Worthing midfielder collected the ball on the corner of the Wasps' box and rifled a powerful dipping effort into the net.
Worthing were punished for not making the most of some good openings after the restart as Crawley drew level on 63 minutes. Following what looked like a simple long clearance, a breakdown in communication at the back allowed Rosanne Fine to power a half-volley home to set up an interesting final 25 minutes.
With the score locked at 2-2 and Crawley looking to frustrate the leaders in the closing stages, Beth McKellar was introduced into the backline and Tammy Waine pushed up top as the visitors went in search of a winning goal.
Barely a minute after that change, Worthing found a vital third goal to retake the lead once again.
Worsfold's speculative effort crashed into the roof of the net despite the best efforts of the Wasps' goalkeeper.
Worthing had further chances to extend their lead in the closing stages.
Worsfold was denied her hat-trick five minutes from time when her powerful headed effort was contentiously ruled out for offside. Crawley had one last chance to snatch a point two minutes from time, but a fantastic reflex stop from Amy Coster denied Nicholle Smith.
Goalscorer Barron was delighted to to get off the mark on her Worthing debut.
She said: “I was relieved to see it go in and hopefully I will start putting some more away now.
"The performance was below the standard we set for ourselves, but it’s good to come away with the points and keep the winning momentum going.
"Settling in at Worthing has been really easy, everyone has been really welcoming and I look forward to training sessions and games each week, which hasn’t always been the case in previous seasons."
Despite a stagnated display from her side, manager Michelle Lawrence was relived to come away with another three points. “Although it’s another positive step towards our goal, I felt that we lacked our usually fluidity for long periods of the game and made it hard for ourselves at times.
"Credit to Crawley, who were clinical when it mattered and caused us problems.
"It was pleasing to see the team react to the setbacks in the way that they did - and leaving with another victory was the most important thing.
"We’ll need to up our game against Hassocks next weekend if we want to keep our winning run going."