After a great set of training sessions the Worthing College Football Performance Programme again had two matches. The 1st XI travelled East to take on Easton & Otley College from Norwich in the ECFA National Premier League and the 2nd XI had a vital 1st round SSFA County Cup match at local rivals City College Brighton & Hove.
After a delay at the start of their journey the 1st XI squad arrived at 2.10pm with a re-arranged ko time of 2.30pm. However this didn’t seem to effect their start to proceedings. Long away trips can at times seek out the mentally weak, however the squad took the game to their East Anglian rivals from the whistle with Harry Smith getting in on the left early on with his cross evading all in the penalty area. The midfield pair of Jazz Gilbertson and Jack Barnes were winning possession back high up the pitch and feeding the dangerous Charlie Dennis and Harvey Sparks, which led to a strike from Gilbertson that went just over. Up the other end Worthing goalkeeper Jimmy Punter had to be alert to firstly take a high cross in the swirling wind and secondly to act as a sweeper when the centre backs were beaten by a long through ball.
Worthing continued to dominate possession, but were kept honest by the hard work ethic of their opponents. However Worthing kept playing and more chances were created. Greg Gander had his header from a Sparks corner cleared off the line, Luke Richards was also blocked on the line after a close range effort and Richards again was denied, this time by an unbelievable block by the Easton centre half after superb build up play from Gilbertson, Dennis and Sparks, who unselfishly squared the ball to Richards.
That was the half and the chat from Performance Coach Dave Hall was to keep going and working hard and more chances will come. However switching on defensively was key as Worthing knew the hosts would get a period of pressure in the game. This was so for the first 15 minutes of the second half. Punter was rooted to the spot only to see the Easton striker’s 20-yard effort cannon back off the bar and out. Punter responded superbly by tipping another 25-yard free kick onto the cross bar. This seemed to stir Worthing into a second wind and straight from this a Barnes/Gilbertson combination played in Harry Smith, who slotted the ball under the Easton goalkeeper. 1-0 Worthing.
Even though the lead was more than fully deserved Worthing needed to up the work rate. The back four were staying strong and repelling all the pressure Easton were putting on them from high direct balls into the box. Barnes and Gilbertson were working hard to win possession and Dennis was enjoying his time on the right hand side. Dennis reversed a pass into the path of Sparks who evaded the centre half then went round the keeper, only to be brought down cynically. Penalty Worthing. Dennis stepped up to place the penalty into the corner. 2-0 Worthing.
Worthing continued to play the right way and used the bench with Gianni Martinkovic coming on and looking comfortable at left back and also debuts for Matt Wrigglesworth and Ellis Wilson. The final whistle blew to the delight of the Worthing players knowing that today was a job well done.
Performance Coach Dave Hall was extremely pleased with the performance “I can’t be more happy for the lads today. They were superb. They played sensible football and pressed high, which created many opportunities. At times its a joy to watch, but its down to all their hard work and efforts. These players are learning the game and are developing all the time and with going on long away trips like these its another step in developing their game intelligence.”
The Worthing College Men’s Football 2nd XI took on City College Brighton away in the 1st Round of the 2nd XI County Cup. Danny Cullip’s side put in an excellent all round performance to progress into Round 2 by winning by 5 goals to nil. Mitchell Hartley and Kieran O’Brien starred as they both got 2 a piece and Chris Potkins rounded off the scoring. Cullip was “pleased with how the lads are taking what we are working on in training into match days. The attitude shown today was first rate and some of the goals were of a high quality. The boys have now set the standard, which they must reach each week to ensure that they develop as players and as a squad.”
Onwards & Upwards,