Fulham Women were knocked out of the League Cup at the semi-final stage by Worthing this afternoon after a spirited second half showing failed to cancel out the two-goal advantage the visitors carved out before half time at Motspur Park.
Worthing, who have been one of the frontrunners for promotion for much of the season, made the sharper start with Gemma Worsfold only prevented from connecting with a cross from Rachel Palmer by alert goalkeeping from the recalled Edie Kelly. The Whites stood off their opposition and Worthing continued to dominate proceedings with Georgia Tibble going close with a rasping drive from distance.
Fulham’s disciplined defence had held firm despite regular Worthing pressure but it cracked ten minutes before the break when skipper Mary Southgate conceded a penalty for the second week running. Worsford placed her spot-kick clinically into the bottom corner – and things only got worse for the hosts when Tibble turned in a deflected cross three minutes to register her tenth goal of the season.
Fulham, so far off the pace in the first period, made the perfect start after the interval with Helen Ogle producing a superb finish from Georgia Heasman’s intelligent approach play. The second half was a much more even away with substitute Ede Buchele denied by a strong reaction save from Lauren Dolbear before Lois Konan lashed an effort wide of goal. For Worthing, who still carried a substantial threat on the counter, there were heroines at either end of the field. Palmer narrowly cleared the crossbar with a first-time drive and then midfielder Niamh Andersson threw herself into a brave block as Fulham poured forward.
Worthing held on despite prolonged Fulham pressure in added time – and they thoroughly deserved to reach the last four after a classical away display.
FULHAM WOMEN (4-3-3): Kelly; Allen, Foreman, Southgate, Stormer; Christison-McNee, Konan, True; Heasman, Roberts, Ogle. Subs: Stratton, Lewis, Mendes, Limbird, Buchele.
GOAL: Ogle (46).
WORTHING WOMEN (4-4-2): Dolbear; Young, Russell, Palmer, Bridge; Lelliot, Tibble, Bell, Wicnester; Bell, Worsford. Subs: Prince, Linscar, Cooper, Andresson, Nwetown.
GOALS: Worsford (pen 35, 38).