The Men’s Football Performance Programme travelled to face fierce competitors Boreham Wood in the ECFA National League. The corresponding fixture last season gave the hosts a 3-1 win, but Worthing came out with many positives as many players were making their national league bows.
Dejavu was definitely in the air with Worthing fielding a number of players making their debuts or 2nd starts at National League level with others making a welcome comeback from injury.
Worthing started the game with players looking to develop their game intelligence and team shape with a few players playing in unfamiliar positions, but more than capable of matching their Hertfordshire opponents.
The first 15 minutes were relatively scrappy with Worthing not getting into the game. Boreham Wood had a couple of chances but debutant Rui Buckland made a fine save on two occasions. This seemed to wake Worthing up. The shape looked much better with the front four pressing the ball high and forcing mistakes, which led to many chances, however Worthing were wasteful in front of goal.
As Worthing had a foothold in the game Boreham Wood took the lead. An aimless ball wasn’t cut out and led to the tall striker to pounce and slot the ball past Buckland. 1-0. Worthing didn’t let this deter them and continued in their shape and high press game until the half.
At half time the focus was on their threat out wide and how to combat this when out of possession. Again more composure was needed in possession to turn territory into goals.
Worthing started on the front foot and the hard working Davison was replaced by another returning player, Sam Marsden. This swung the game fully into the away sides favour. Marsden was excellent in the air and the ground, with his first contribution being a volley, which the Boreham Wood keeper made a fine save from, his first of many.
However again Worthing were made to pay for decision making in a defensive area. The dangerous number 7 drove across the Worthing penalty area and with no one stepping out curled the ball into the top corner. 2-0.
Marsden again took the game to Boreham Wood and forced another fine save from the keeper and from the subsequent corner from Goodman, Dave Beaney pounced with a bullet header. 2-1. Worthing now smelt blood and went for the equaliser with the Boreham Wood keeper being in fine form to deny the Worthing forward players with spectacular saves, especially from a Beaney free kick.
Just as Worthing were looking more likely for an equaliser another long clearance wasn’t defended and led to a third goal for Boreham Wood, which clearly took the wind out of the Worthing sails and therefore the points were staying in Hertfordshire for another season.
Despite the second defeat of the season Performance Coach Dave Hall was proud of his charges “today I’m gutted for the players as there effort and team shape was excellent, however at this level individual mistakes cost goals, which seem to be going against us at the moment and with the goal timings as well when we are on top, so the boys need to learn that you are most vulnerable when you are on the attack. Also when we are on top we need to punish teams, but I’m very pleased that we are creating chances and it will come. Their game intelligence is developing all the time and I know the players will learn from their experiences to become better players. Also great to see four lads make their debuts at National League level, plus the return of Joel and Sam to the squad, which can only bode well for the future.”