A dominant second-half performance saw Crawley Wasps win 7-1 at Chichester City on Wednesday night – and move to the top of the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division.
Summer recruits Charlotte Owen and Rebecca Carter both scored twice as Wasps recorded their biggest away league victory since November 2017, and made it three wins from three since promotion to the third tier.
It also lifted them to their highest-ever position in the women’s football pyramid, ahead of Sunday’s trip to second-place Yeovil Town.
Despite finishing third last season, Chichester are in transition this term, after the loss of manager Aaron Smith and a number of first-team players, including winger Tash Stephens to Wasps.
Chi had lost their opening two games without scoring, while Wasps had won both without conceding – and that form was bearing out as the visitors’ left-back Rachel Palmer twice went close in the opening five minutes, grazing the bar and then forcing a save.
Midfielder Owen put Wasps ahead on 27 minutes, netting the rebound after Carter’s lob had come back off the underside of the bar, before centre-back Ellie Russell nodded in from Palmer’s corner.
Chi hit back on the stroke of half time, Sophie Phelps heading in as Wasps were breached for the first time in 374 minutes, dating back to May.
But Paul Walker’s side struck three times early in the second half to kill the game off. Faye Rabson twice set up Carter to net from close range, before she got on the scoresheet herself with a superb header from Stephens’ cross.
The excellent Ariana Fleischman created Owen’s second before Palmer’s cross-cum-shot deceived the Chi keeper to add a seventh.
Wasps: Gibbs; Nash, James, Russell, Palmer; Cole, Fleischman; Stephens, Owen, Rabson (Ledezma-Viso 60); Carter (Webber 67). Subs not used: Graves, Niamh Stephenson.