Lewes marked their return to league action in emphatic style with a comprehensive victory over Swindon Town at the Dripping Pan.
The Rookettes controlled the game from the start and the scoreline would arguably have been even more one-sided but for an exemplary performance from Town keeper Emily Bagguley.
Lewes boss John Donoghue made four changes to the starting line up from the last outing against Crystal Palace in the FAWPL Cup, with Darcey James, Kelly Newton, Sarah Kempson and Amy Taylor being replaced by Rebecca Thompson, Dani Lane, Rebecca Carter and Charlotte Owen.
The hosts began to ask questions of the Town defence from the off, with the industrious Carter sourcing several attacks from the right wing, one of which saw Dani Lane go close with a back header.
Charlotte Owen was making a nuisance of herself just ahead of the midfield and saw a powerful header tipped over the bar by Bagguley, whilst Avilla Bergin cleverly created space for a shot which the keeper gathered at the second attempt.
Lewes were very mobile, using intelligent wing play to constantly pressure the Swindon defence and the opening goal in the 23rd minute came with little surprise, Rebecca Carter latching onto a throughball and deftly lobbing Bagguley from distance.
Claire Johnson’s powerful runs out of defence runs caused further issues for Swindon, with Bergin beaten to the ball at the near post and then shooting a free kick wide shortly after.
Emily Arrell threatened to break free in a rare Swindon move, but Leeta Rutherford, playing in a central defensive role, made a strong challenge to clear the danger.
Whilst Lewes were so dominant, final balls and indeed shots with better accuracy would have put the game out of reach long before half time. As it was, the hosts had to call on the skill and experience of keeper Faye Baker nine minutes before the break to tip away a shot from Arrell, as the striker threatened to draw the scores level.
The Rookettes took heed and scored two quick goals as the interval approached. In the 38th minute, Rutherford’s clever clipped pass gave Lane space to run into, and her cross from the near post was met with a fierce shot from Owen that gave Bagguley little chance to react.
Three minutes later Swindon failed to clear a corner, and after Carleton’s initial shot was blocked, the ball fell kindly for Bergin who swiveled from six yards to score the third.
Half time gave little respite for Swindon, as Lewes went on the offensive from the restart. Thompson forced a fingertip save from Bagguley who was a mere bystander as Bergin’s cross slipped through her fingers but rebounded kindly off the far post for her to smother.
Carter went close with two attempts but then won a free kick on the edge of the area which Rachel Palmer looped perfectly over Bagguley for the fourth goal in the 58th minute.
Darcey James replaced Rutherford in defence and got on the score sheet herself only five minutes later, bundling in a corner at the far post after 68 minutes.
After a stoppage for a serious injury to Carleton who was stretchered off with fifteen minutes remaining, Lewes continued to push on and substitute Sarah Kempson added a sixth goal in the 85th minute after a neat exchange with Carter.
In added time, a tidy through ball from Owen found Bergin but after her shot was caught under the keeper’s body, the ball ran free for Lane to convert from close range to complete a fine afternoon for Lewes Women.
Baker, Johnson, Palmer, McIntyre (Kempson 74), Thompson, Lane, Carleton (Newton 76), Rutherford (66), Carter, Owen, Bergin.
Carter (23 mins)
Owen (38 mins)
Bergin (41 mins)
Palmer (58 mins)
James (68 mins)
Kempson (85 mins)
Lane (90+2 mins)
Bagguley, Lawrence, Smith, Evans, Nash, Mugford, Roberts, Arrell, Mwaura, New, Martin (Scott 58)