After last week’s ESFA National Cup progression two Worthing College Football Performance squads took to the field in their first league games of the season. The 1st XI were at Arundel FC to take on Kingston College in the ECFA National League. The 2nd XI travelled to Portsmouth in the BCS South East League. After weeks of preparation the squads were looking to put in practice what they had been developing on the training pitches at HillBarn.
Performance Coach Dave Hall knew from previous encounters that Kingston were going to be a tough and physical opponent and this was in evidence from an early part of the game. However to their credit Worthing dominated possession and quickly got into their free flowing football, which is the ethos of this programme. From this chances were created with a Harvey Sparks volley, a Harry Smith prod and Greg Gander header being early opportunities that Worthing potentially squandered. Kingston were proving a threat from set plays however goalkeeper Jimmy Punter was instilling confidence in his backline with a dominant display.
Mid way through the half Worthing’s patience was rewarded when a Jack Barnes diagonal pass way met by Harry Smith, who drove at the full back only to be dragged down by the bye line. Penalty Worthing. A confident Harvey Sparks stepped up, but his kick was saved by the Kingston stopper, only to be brought back as he encroached before the penalty was taken. Charlie Dennis then took the responsibility and sent the keeper the wrong way. 1-0.
Worthing continued to play effective football, but needed to be weary of the Kingston threat. Centre halves Gander and Matt Smith were strong with Josh and Jacob Parazo keeping their wingers at bay. It was Josh Parazo, who had a notable chance when nicking the ball high the diminutive full back raced into the penalty area and chipped the keeper, only for the cross bar to stop him from claiming his first goal in Worthing College colours.
A second goal needed to be on the cards and again the trusty set piece was to bring the next goal in this match. A Sparks corner was met firmly by Matt Smith for his second in two appearances. 2-0 Worthing. That is how the scores stayed until the half time whistle sounded.
The focus at half time was to keep playing positively and that the next goal would be crucial. Again set pieces were to be Kingston’s undoing with another Sparks delivery being headed home by the hard working Luke Richards. 3-0 Worthing. The three points were confirmed when Dennis scored his second of the game after turning his full back inside and out before striking the ball into the top corner. 4-0 Worthing.
To their credit Kingston kept attacking and this was rewarded with 10 minutes to go when a 30 yard thunderbolt struck the top corner of Punter’s goal. 4-1 Worthing.
With the game concluded and Worthing’s first three points at National level this season a pleased Hall commented “the lads were superb today. They took on board what we worked on in training and its great to see its fruition on match day. These players are developing their game intelligence all the time and this will be tested with a long trip to Norwich next week. Extremely proud of all involved today, however they have now set the standard of what is expected week in week out.”
The 2nd XI travelled in high spirits and were prepared for the challenge ahead. Performance Coach Danny Cullip was extremely pleased with what he saw in a very one sided 8-0 victory against South Downs College. Matty Isaacs and Mitchell Hartley both scored braces, Kieran O’Brien, Oscar Gamble, Sam Brice and an own goal were the remaining goals for Worthing. This was an excellent start and with so many players on debut it shows the application and learning that is going on in training, but again standards have now been set and need to be maintained to ensure player development.
Onwards & upwards,