Both Worthing College Men’s Football Performance Programme squads were in Sussex County Cup action, with places in the quarter finals up for grabs. With players rested and Worthing Youth playing on the evening it was a great chance to see players making their debuts in the 1st XI, who travelled to Cardinal Newman of Hove. 5 players made their 1st XI full debuts; Dave Beaney, Sam Brice, Oscar Gamble, Josh Coupar and Scott Rafferty were all involved.
The compactness of the Newman pitch and bobbly playing conditions led to a scrappy first twenty minutes with neither side creating a clear cut opportunity. Worthing were dominant in possession, however the hosts were dogged in their approach and were effective on the counter attack. Worthing’s wide men are always a danger and this was the case in the opening goal. The returning Josh Marshall drove past his full back and pulled the ball back to Coupar, who controlled the cross and side footed the ball past the Newman keeper. 1-0 Worthing.
This didn’t deter the hosts who stuck to their task admirably and were beginning to get a foothold in the game. The equaliser came 10 minutes before half time. Worthing lost possession in midfield and a through ball bobbling through to the impressive Newman front man, who drove a clean strike past Jimmy Punter in the Worthing goal. 1-1 at half time.
Worthing just needed to keep possession a bit better in the second period and play the conditions by moving the ball quickly to stretch the Newman defence. To their credit Newman were turning this game into a real cup tie producing superb blocks and still looking dangerous on the break, even though Punter was still to be tested since picking the ball out of the net. As time wore on the hosts were looking at the game going into extra time, however Worthing mixed things up, bringing on Charlie Dennis for Coupar and Gamble being replaced by Brice. This seemed to give a new impetus to the tie. Dennis was in the action straight away by releasing Marshall, whose cross bobbled up to the hard working Luke Richards, whose half volley flew into the top corner. 2-1 Worthing. Definite relief was evident around the team and this was shown with a more confident and free flowing display.
The third came a couple of minutes later from a corner. Jack Barnes delivered for Callum Lee, who powerfully headed in off the cross bar. 3-1 Worthing. Josh Marshall then go on the score sheet after a Chris Potkins goal bound effort looped into the air Marshall exquisitely volley home. 4-1 Worthing. Dennis was then replaced by Scott Rafferty. The hosts were now out of energy and ideas, which led to a fifth. Excellent hold up play from Richards released Marshall, who slotted the ball past the Newman keeper, who should have done better. 5-1 Worthing. There was still time for a sixth with Marshall thinking he had completed his hat trick, only for the goalie to save well, but Rafferty was on hand to slam home. 6-1 Worthing.
That was how the scoreline stayed and this set up a quarter final tie away to either Varndean or Steyning next month. Performance Programme Coach Dave Hall was pleased for the team “there were a lot of changes today that could have upset the rhythm of play. However this wasn’t the case and this is great testament to all of the players, who are taking on board what the programme is all about and looking to develop their game intelligence all the time. Great credit to Newman, who were well in the game for 60 minutes, however our squad stuck to the task and game plan, which eventually wore them down. Also excellent to see some great debuts and also the return of Josh Marshall, so definite selection headaches for the next National League game at home to SEEVIC next week.”
Meanwhile the 2nd XI took on Hove Park’s 1st XI in their Sussex County Cup round of 16. The game was moved to Worthing’s Hill Barn training pitches and with Danny Cullip still off, Women’s 2nd XI coach Curtis Foster took charge of the team. The game started very cagey and neither team were dominating possession. After 20 minutes Worthing were starting to show spells of good passing football and this showed as a good move found Barney Bryer wide left, he beat 3 players and slotted the ball into the near corner. A great individual goal. 1-0 Worthing.
There were very few chances to feed off for both sides with the play predominantly being in the middle third. A good run from Matty Isaacs saw him slot through Mitchell Hartley, who at the second time of asking slotted home after rounding the goalkeeper. 2-0 Worthing.
With Hove Park beginning to create chances the 3rd goal was an important one. Bryer again with an almost identical finish to his first made it 3-0. Just before half time an excellent individual run and chip saw Hove Park pull one back, 3-1. The second half was going to be a test for both sides and after an early Hove Park second the game was poised at 3-2. Some dominant play in central areas and solid defending from both centre back’s gave Worthing the backbone needed to see out the result. It wasn’t the best performance from the boys but it was a deserved result and it will only be confidence boosting.