Worthing College Men’s Football Performance Programme 1st XI travelled to Bisham Abbey to face the FAB Academy, who were looking to extend their unbeaten start to life in the ECFA National Premier League. Worthing were looking to bounce back after last week’s narrow defeat at the hands of Milton Keynes. Worthing made two changes, which saw Chris Potkins make his debut as Harry Smith made way due to injury and Callum Lee replace Matt Smith, who was also injured.
The game started with the home side dominating possession and territory with Worthing not really getting out of the blocks. Worthing gave the ball away too cheaply to their Buckinghamshire opponents and were almost punished if it wasn’t for excellent defending by centre halves Greg Gander and Callum Lee as well as a couple of smart saves from Jimmy Punter in the Worthing goal. Both sides were playing with a similar shape and style, but it was FAB who had the upper hand and took the lead on the half hour. A cross from the left saw the FAB right winger head the ball unmarked past Punter 1-0. FAB.
Worthing responded relatively well and had a couple of set pieces, but didn’t test the FAB stopper. Worthing finally looked to get their shape and communication right and this lead to a glorious chance for striker Luke Richards 5 minutes before the break. Harvey Sparks won possession high up the pitch and played in Potkins, who crossed for Richards, but he unfortunately blazed the ball over the bar from 8 yards.
Half time and the focus was based upon being still in the game and sorting a couple of areas out tactically. The Worthing players had the belief that chances were there to get back into the game and started the 2nd half stronger than they did in the 1st. However FAB were always dangerous and were a well organised outfit. Punter again was being brave and strong, coming to claim and punch any aerial threat that came his way.
Worthing almost equalised from a well worked set piece. Greg Gander headed back towards the goal only for the FAB keeper to make an acrobatic save to deny him. Worthing began to grow in belief, but still needed to be weary at the back. Gander again was involved when after salvaging a corner, he turned his man and delivered a looping cross that evaded all except the post. The follow up came to the quiet Charlie Dennis, but again Worthing were to be denied, this time as Dennis blazed over the bar from 3 yards out.
This tense and tactical match up was about to turn up another notch when Worthing got an equaliser after soaking up pressure from their very competent opponents. A Josh Parazo diag was pounced upon by Sparks, who headed past the FAB keeper from 12 yards. 1-1 and game on (so was thought).
After this Worthing should have kicked on, but it was their opponents, who again took the upper hand in proceedings. FAB began to press and Worthing made a change to the midfield. The hard working Jazz Gilbertson was replaced by Matt Isaacs. The game then seemed to even out again, but it was the hosts who were to have the last laugh and leave Worthing extremely disappointed for a second week running.
A dubious free kick was played into the Worthing penalty area, which was only half cleared not once, but twice. The second time the ball fell kindly to the FAB substitute, who smashed the ball home and was subsequently engulfed by his fellow team mates. 2-1 FAB final score.
Football Performance Coach Dave Hall was trying to remain upbeat about the game “To be fair we never really got going in the first half and to their credit FAB are a very good side, which is what you would expect at this level. Therefore players need to learn that they need to focus and concentrate from the first whistle, which is again another part of their development. When we tweeked a couple of tactical areas we began to grow in confidence and we almost played a perfect away performance. We created clear cut chances, which I’m happy about, but we need to be more clinical, because it seems that teams punish us when we make the slightest error. However I wouldn’t have it any other way as the players will only learn from this and become better for it. We will have a week’s break to reflect and then go again after half term.”