After many postponements it was great to see TWO games this week for the BCS squad. The first being in the Sussex Schools County Cup on Monday, a tournament the squad won last season. The opposition were in the form of Cardinal Newman from Hove.
On the back of an impressive 3-2 win vs. Sussex Downs Eastbourne in the BCS League the excellent Lewis Blaney continued in goal and George Dennis was given his first start after an impressive substitute display. Early on it could be seen that Worthing’s dominance was obvious, however Worthing failed to move the ball quickly enough and with no real purpose. Despite this Worthing went in 4-0 to the good at the half.
The focus at half time was to up the tempo as well as pushing the side forward, so that more chances could be created in the opponents final third of the pitch. Harry Russell was brought on with 30 minutes to go as part of the his rehabilitation after injury. The performance was slightly better after the interval, however Worthing tended to lost their shape more often than not, which provided chances for Cardinal Newman to get onto the scoresheet. The second half did see Worthing notch 8 more goals to make it a 12-0 victory and progress into the next round, however lessons needed to be learned when coming up against other opposition throughout the season.
Harry Russell did his confidence no harm with 4 goals on the day. The impressive George Dennis scored 3, the hard working Ryan Mackley added a brace, Kieran O’Brien, Conor Bull & James Lower concluded the scoring.
On Wednesday Worthing looked to build on this performance when taking on the competitive Merrist Wood 1st XI in the BCS National Cup. The game again was at Waterhall, so the focus was organisation, shape and purpose to ensure that the level of performance was upped from Monday’s game.
Changes were made with Jacob Bassett & Scott Rafferty coming into the back line, Oscar Gamble came in to the centre of the park with Sam Brice. Ossie Guile also took his place in the starting line up on the left hand side. The game started very evenly, but Worthing kept their defensive shape extremely well and looked to move the ball forward with every opportunity. This allowed Worthing to create a couple of chances, with Guile blazing over and Ryan Mackley having a couple of shots saved.
Merrist Wood did look good on the break, but the back four stood firm and kept their shape very well with Blaney collecting up the loose passes. Worthing deservedly took the lead on the half hour. Kieran O’Brien took a Mackley knock down and had seemed to take too many touches, however he swung a great left foot strike into the far top corner. A great strike. 1-0 Worthing.
This is how the score stayed until the half, but Merrist Wood were definitely getting into the game with more possession and slightly getting the better of the midfield.
At half time a couple of tweaks with regards to shape, which would allow Worthing to hopefully take the game to their Guildford counterparts. Merrist Wood seemed to take the initiative in the second half and enjoyed a lot of good possession without getting Blaney to make a save. Their dominance was rewarded after 15 minutes from a corner. Poor marking allowed the Merrist Wood number 10 to head home at the front post. 1-1.
Worthing needed to show character and they did this and more! Straight away Worthing pressed and within seconds of the restart Harry Russell produced a wonder save from the Merrist Wood keeper. The resulting corner was cleared, however Kieran O’Brien got the ball under control and struck the ball from 20-yards out with pace to take the lead. 2-1 Worthing.
Merrist Wood then changed tactically as they were more than in the game. They moved to three at the back and three up front. Worthing needed to stay disciplined and controlled in possession to catch their opponents on the break. Russell had another couple of chances to increase the lead, however the Merrist Wood goalkeeper made two outstanding saves.
Sam Brice and Oscar Gamble were working hard to break up play and get Worthing in possession. Gamble won possession in the middle of the park and fed Russell, who then slid in Guile and his pace got him away from the defender and cooly finished to put Worthing two goals ahead with 15 to go. 3-1.
Merrist Wood were still working hard and looking to get back into the game. They halved the arrears with a spectacular effort. The Merrist Wood number 8 curled a 30-yard free kick into the stanchion. 3-2 game on.
Again Worthing came back and finally put the tie to bed. This time it was Guile, who fed Russell and his low finish was an excellent one for his 5th goal in two games. 4-2 Worthing.
So Worthing advance into the next round of two cup competitions with two contrasting performances, which will hopefully stand all of these players in good stead for their future development. With the next round potentially being the last week before Christmas this gives the BCS squad a great opportunity to put all of the training into practice.