This week saw both Men’s Football Performance Programme squads in action with the 2nd XI starting the defence of their BCS SE League title at home to South Downs’ 1st XI, whilst the 1st XI took on familiar rivals in the form of Kingston College at Arundel FC in the ECFA National League.
Tough decisions needed to be made for selection, however there was only one change from the 1st XI’s outing at Dereham with Josh Etherington making his debut, replacing the unavailable Callum Lee. Eddie Davis also made his debut at National League level by being selected on the bench.
Kingston were always going to be a strong outfit, who could match teams both physically and technically. This season was no different. Kingston had territory early in the first fifteen minutes with keeper Jimmy Punter having to make a full length stop to deny the Kingston winger.
Worthing needed to settle and it took a touch of brilliance to allow them to get into the game. Mitchell Hartley’s run was stopped illegally around 25 yards out. Josh Marshall stepped up and whipped the free kick into the far corner. Fantastic finish. 1-0.
As stated this got Worthing going and with Jack Barnes and Scott Goodman in the middle of the park they began to dominate possession and get a foothold in the game. Worthing were keeping their shape and discipline with Jack Punter at right back being exceptional when pressing his opposing winger being a highlight.
Confidence was starting to flow and quick passing and changes of play were starting to be a theme for the match with the second goal being one of exceptional quality. Ossie Guile cut inside and delivered a fantastic diagonal pass into Marshall, who laid the ball off first time to Goodman, who cut across his volley and it struck the top corner. Sublime goal. 2-0.
At half time the word was to keep the discipline and continue to work on the game intelligence to ensure that the points were sealed.
To their credit Kingston came out and looked to be more direct and get in behind the Worthing defence. However Matt Smith and Etherington at centre half were standing firm and showing a great line. This approach began to put Worthing out of their rhythm, but striker Sam Marsden’s hold up play and flick ons allowed Worthing to get more territory and relieve the pressure that the visitors were throwing at Worthing.
Then came a potential turning point. Smith was turned by the Kingston striker, who then beat Etherington and squared the ball to the Kingston winger and the Kingston man struck the ball past Punter to get Kingston back in the game.
Worthing made changes with Ross Edwards coming on for Guile, Harry Smith for Marshall & Davis for his debut, on for Hartley. As in the previous game the substitutes had a bit part to play with Edwards sensible in possession, Smith direct and powerful and Davis tricky and intelligent playing in between the lines.
Chances were at a premium as the time was ticking down. Davis found some space and whipped a great strike, which the diminutive Kingston keeper did excellently to keep out and tip over. At the other end Punter saw a shot dribble past the post after some fortunate passages of play.
After 12 minutes of added time (for injuries) the whistle went with the knowledge of a job well done. 2-1 Worthing.
The 2nd XI took to Wick & Barnham FC for their first BCS SE League match against South Downs 1st XI. The game was one way traffic with Worthing coming out 9-0 winners. Shape and discipline as well as ruthlessness was on show in abundance with Jordan Welch, Ryan Mackley & James Lower got braces and Kieran O’Brien, Carl Boath & Conor Bull also on target.
Performance Programme Coach Dave Hall was again pleased with the players progress “both sides have shown the different parts of the game today. The 1st XI again showed superb discipline and game intelligence to make sure that even after set backs they are willing to go again. Also great to see the 2nd XI work so well together and show composure in front of goal and to keep going with their levels of performance, which in turn produces positive results. Again the players have set the standards, so they will recover right and look to go again next week.”