Emma Thompson made the most of her chance in the starting XI, scoring two early goals which inspired the Rooks to a 4-1 away win over Crystal Palace in the FA Continental Tyres League Cup.
The win puts Lewes top of Group D and in a very good position to qualify for the next round with just Bristol City to play at home on Friday 16 December.
Scott Booth’s side started on the front foot taking control of possession and Palace were stunned by an early goal in the sixth minute. Some great work by Paula Howells sent Charlyann Pizzarello down the wing and the Gibraltarian international put in a wonderful cross for Thompson who tapped home.
Just 12-minutes later it was two and it was Thompson again, following a blocked shot, the Chelsea loanee slotted home with a low left-footed strike from the centre of the box.
Palace were rattled and came bursting forward just a few minutes later looking for an instant reply. They almost had it as well striking the post from close-range. The Rooks countered with Amelia Hazard bursting forward, and cuts it across the box only for Kirsten Reilly to turn it into her own net.
Three goals to the good inside 25-minutes and Lewes looked like scoring every time we came forward. Then shortly before half-time, Barclays Women’s Championship Player of the Month nominee, Emily Kraft, continued her fine form, cutting inside two defenders and hitting a wonderful left-footed effort from outside of the box into the bottom corner for possibly the goal of the game.
Midway through what was a much quieter second-half, Amber-Keegan Stobbs did really well in the midfield playing in Emma Thompson for her hat-trick but the young forward struck the crossbar.
Palace defender much better in the second-half with the Rooks struggling to create too much more. The home side then found a late consolation with Molly-May Sharp capitalising on a mix up at the back and made it 4-1.
Scott Booth’s thoughts
“Delighted with the performance, I thought they were very good in the first-half. The second they did what they had to do to make it difficult for a good side in Crystal Palace.
“Emily [Moore] wasn’t troubled too much, we expected them to be a bit more direct in the second-half which they were, and we were caught out with one at the end. But in general we defended well, put our bodies on the line and connected as a group.
“The most pleasing aspect is that we were very clinical in the first-half. With a little bit of luck it could have been more.
“It’s a position we haven’t been in, 4-0 up at half-time so it was a learning experience for the players to handle those types of games.”
Scott was also full of praise for Emma Thompson and her two goals.
“Emma has worked really hard to fire her way into contention, which she has always been in but she’s worked on different aspects of her game that she showed tonight.
“You can see that she has been working hard on those different things that have made her look like a more rounded striker, and her all round play today was very, very good.”
Similarly, he spoke of others who took their chance to impress including Pizzarello.
“Charly has a great left-foot and she put the ball into a perfect area for Emma to score. A one touch finish in the box is always nice to see.
“I think everyone took their chance tonight, we were very clinical and it made it a very enjoyable watch.
“It’s always difficult to play a team twice in a week which we are doing with Palace. It’s always tough to know whether it will be a similar game or whether it will be different.
“For us it means we can look at aspects of the game, do our analysis and ensure that the things we did well, we do well again. Palace are a physical team which I think we matched them on and we will need to do again.”
Make sure you get down to the Pan this Sunday where we face Crystal Palace again in league action!