The Worthing College Men’s Football Performance Programme 1st XI took on West Suffolk College in an ECFA National League top of the table clash at Bury St Edmonds on Wednesday.
Worthing were without Ryan & James Fergany as well as the suspended Greg Gander and with Josh Parazo and Jazz Gilbertson unavailable due to College exams this was going to show how far the squad as a whole have developed during their time in the programme.
Rob Haggart partnered Jordan Dudas at the heart of the defence with Harvey Sparks playing at right back. The pacy Harry Smith started wide left with Josh Marshall and the in form Jared Rance completing an exciting and attacking line up.
Considering the recent wet weather the pitch was in perfect condition and would potentially suit Worthing’s passing style of play. Despite the long 3 and a half hour journey Worthing began on the front foot with Smith and Marshall terrorising their opposing full backs.
Worthing seemed to be in control, with West Suffolk only offering a direct approach that would provide any danger to the Worthing goal. However in the 20th minute it was the hosts that took the lead. The West Suffolk winger was initially stopped by superb tracking from midfielder Shaun Cook, but still managed to get in a cross that was only palmed by Worthing keeper James Binfield onto the head of the onrushing striker. 1-0 West Suffolk.
The talk before the match was based upon making sure that the team were in the right frame of mind psychologically and this needed to be the case for Worthing to get back into the game. To their credit Worthing never stopped and continued to be a threat for the remainder of the half. Shots from Marshall, Rance and Jack Barnes tested the Suffolk keeper, but failed to find the net.
Performance Coaches Dave Hall and Danny Cullip were pleased with the effort and performance in the first half, however the message was to keep going and not get frustrated and more chances would come. Worthing also levelled straight from the kick off with Cook playing in Marshall, but his shot was tame.
Worthing were not just dominant in possession, but set pieces as well with Harvey Sparks delivering to allow further chances for Worthing. A Dudas nod back to captain Lewis Jenkins was cleared off the line with Jenkins suffering a collision with the goal post for his troubles.
The inevitable equaliser came with 20 minutes remaining. Rance held the ball up well, spun and slid in Harry Smith, who burst past the West Suffolk full back to slot the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper. 1-1. Many would make do with a draw away from home, but not this group of players. With five minutes to go a Marshall cross was expertly controlled by Smith, who twisted and turned in the penalty area and when it looked like the chance had gone he curled the ball into the bottom corner.
With the final whistle came jubilation of an excellent team performance and a 5 point lead in the ECFA National League. Performance Coach Dave Hall was delighted with the performance “we asked before the game for the players to step up psychologically as well as in their game intelligence. There were a lot of first year players in the squad, who were lead superbly by the older players in the group. This was a real team performance and one that the squad should be proud of. If these players developed this part of their game (having to deal with long trips and not getting frustrated when in charge of a game) this will put them in great stead for the rest of their footballing careers, which is what our programme is all about.”
The Women’s Performance Programme started their league campaign after Christmas with a trip to bottom of the table Barnet with 7 players missing through exams, injury and illness. This left them with 13 players to travel but showing the strength in depth of the squad all players played well in a strong performance against a battling Barnet side who forced Natalie Woolven into some splendid saves throughout the game. Worthing started well moving the ball around in their own half with Barnet holding a high line with plenty of space in behind the back four for Worthing to attack. This left for an open game with plenty of chances to be created. In the 1st 5 minutes Worthing had hit the bar and made the Barnet keeper save well from an on rushing Aliss Pidduck. But before Worthing had their first Woolven had to make her 1stimportant save of the afternoon rushing out and smothering the ball at the forwards feet who was clean through.
Before the 1st goal was scored Worthing created several chances missing one that looked easier to score but the break through didn’t take long through when Pidduck got her 1st of the afternoon tapping in a rebound after the Barnet keeper saved from Becky Simmonds. The 2nd came quickly after when Kirstin McGregor also tapped in after the goalkeeper spilled the ball from an Amy Green corner. Then again the lively Barnet forward created two opportunities that again Woolven foiled very well making difficult saves look easy.
The game was effectively killed off before half time when the influential Pidduck added her 2nd of the game with a well taken lob over the Barnet keeper.
3-0 half time a strong attacking performance but could easily been a tighter game if it wasn’t for Nat Woolvens interventions at the other end.
The message at half time was keep the attacking play going but the defensive side of the game must tighten up.
The second half started with Worthing giving easy possession to Barnets best attacking play who rushed in on goal one on one with Woolven who again saved well from the forward. This gave Worthing the wakeup call that the game wasn’t dead and they needed to keep their standards up. Lucy Somes playing in the holding role was influencing the game more and more linking play and driving into midfield with the ball well this was rewarded when she danced through the Barnet defence and slotted the ball past the Barnet keeper to make the game 4-0. This then saw the start of the Simmonds show who scored a hat trick in the last 25 minutes. The first was a brilliant volley from a cross from the right hand side, the second again a brilliant goal but a completely different goal with a chip from 25 yards with the Barnet keeper reduced to a spectator as the ball floated beyond her into the top corner. Her third goal was again a well taken goal when she slotted the ball into the corner from the edge of the area to complete the scoring but not the drama.
The last 10 minutes saw Barnet win and miss two penalties the first rebounding off the post and the second straight at Woolven who gladly collected it in.
Player of the Match Aliss Pidduck for her two goals and being a constant threat to Barnet
Goals Becky Simmonds x3, Aliss Pidduck x2, Kirstion McGregor, Lucy Somes
The Worthing College Basketball Performance Programme took on Holy Trinity in the BCS League looking to bounce back from their Cup defeat to Brockenhurst before Christmas. The match was extremely evenly matched, but an injury to starter Sam Gulla late in the first half had a big effect on the outcome of this match. With 45 seconds to go Worthing were down by 2, but couldn’t make the final basket, so Worthing ended up on a 64-62 reverse.
Coach Dom Baker was impressed by the performances of Arthur Holt on the inside and Elliot Trussler from the perimteter. In addition to this Baker feels the future is definitely bright with positive development within the squad as well as injured starters ready for match action.