Worthing College Men’s Football Performance Programme were looking to put pressure on Milton Keynes for the race for the National Playoffs at the end of the season. The visitors were Easton & Otley College, who had travelled down from Norwich.
Worthing made a couple of changes from the side that beat Boreham Wood 2-0 last time out. Harry Lewington came in a centre half for the suspended Jack Punter & Tyler Nightingill replace Ossie Guile in midfield.
Worthing were 2-1 victors in Norwich at the start of the season and were hoping to build on their impressive run of results. However the visitors started brightly and could have been in the lead if it wasn’t for a fine stop from keeper Lewis Blaney to keep the scores level. Worthing then seemed to settled down and play the ball through the thirds into striker Harry Russell and wide man Harry Smith.
Smith was first to cause an impression with a great run and cross; only for it to allude the onrushing Russell. Some more good interplay in the midfield found Russell; only for this strike to be excellently saved by the Easton goalkeeper. Easton were always dangerous on the break with their goalkeeper striking the ball with distance and accuracy; however the Worthing back line seemed to stay firm.
Worthing took the lead in this tense encounter after 25 minutes. Harry Smith seemed to have lost possession; only for him to recover superbly and in the same movement chip the goalkeeper after seeing him off his line. An exquisite finish 1-0.
Worthing should have kicked on from there, however their fluid passing game was being broken up by their hard working opponents. Unfortunately a long ball was to be Worthing’s downfall with the pacy winger getting in behind and slotting the ball back to the Number 11 who gave Blaney no chance. 1-1.
Until the half the game was very evenly balanced with both sides looking to do the right things when in and out of possession. At the half the focus was to rotate the movement quicker in attacking areas as well as making sure shape was maintained defensively. Worthing started again brightly and should have taken the lead. Superb work from Harry Russell to take the ball past the onrushing centre back; only to curl his strike past the far post.
That was to be a turning point in the game with Easton going up the other end and taking the lead with a powerful header from a corner. 2-1. Worthing were definitely shaken by this and Easton added a third with the Number 10 converting a cross, which could have been cut out.
Worthing then made changes to look to get back into the game. Jack Barnes was replaced by Eddie Davis and Callum Lee replaced Harry Lewington. To Worthing’s credit they continued to knock on the door to get back into the game. Smith, Sam Marsden, Russell and Scott Goodman all had good chances to make the final 30 minutes a nervy affair for the visitors. Worthing did pull a goal back, but unfortunately it was too little too late. A Harry Russell knockdown was finished well by Marsden to make the final score 3-2 and therefore making the trip back to Norfolk a positive one for Easton.
Despite narrow defeat Performance Coach Dave Hall was again pleased with the performance “At National League level it comes down to fine lines in terms of results. Today has been a big example of this. Easton are always hard working, but I feel if we had moved the ball and rotated more frequently we would have kicked on in terms of the result. The lads application and work rate was again first class and we now move onto Kingston, who will be another test. This year the league is again exceptionally strong and this is why we play at this level; so that our players can play against the best in England and therefore will only learn and develop to become better themselves. Today’s game was a great advert for National League football.”