Worthing College travelled the short distance to Shoreham to take on Shoreham Academies 1st XI in the 2nd XI County Cup Semi Final. Worthing who were current holders of the competition were looking to make it two finals in two seasons, however they were fully aware of Shoreham’s capabilities and the match up was always going to be a very tight affair.
Due to the small size of the pitch it wasn’t conducive to possession football with possession changing hands on more than one occasion. Set pieces were looking more likely where either team would capitalise and this was shown in the first goal of the game. An Eddie Davis corner was met by Mark Goldson at the front post, who steered the ball home at the second attempt. 1-0 Worthing.
This seemed to provide Worthing with confidence and an excellent passing move involving Ross Edwards, Davis, Mitchell Hartley and Jordan Welch led to Davis hitting the post. It wasn’t long before Worthing doubled the lead with Joel Davison hitting an exquisite strike into the top corner of the Shoreham net with his left foot. 2-0 Worthing.
This seemed to spark Shoreham into life and they seemed more determined to win possession and got onto the front foot in the game. Shoreham got back into the game five minutes later after a mistake in the back line allowed the Shoreham striker to slot the ball past Lewis Blaney at the second attempt. 2-1 Worthing.
Worthing needed to settle down and place more pressure on Shoreham in their half of the pitch, however another error was to be Worthing’s downfall. A clearance was blocked and then not cleared properly, with the Shoreham number 9 capitalising with a cool finish under Blaney. 2-2.
So from a comfortable position Worthing had let their lead slip and that was the score at half time. The focus was to tighten up defensively and to make sure that possession was moved quicker and it higher parts of the pitch.
The second half started similar to the first, extremely scrappy with possession given up easily by both sides. Shoreham began to play more directly looking to catch Worthing out with one ball, however it was Worthing with a potential turning point in the game. Ross Edwards superbly beat three players and played in substitute Harry Russell, whose take and strike were of exceptional quality. Worthing thought they had re-taken the lead, only for the linesman to award offside. Straight up the other end Shoreham’s number 9 had a great chance to take the lead, but his volley hit the bar.
From this point there was only one team who looked like they wanted to earn a place in the final and it was the hosts. They quickly burst into the 4-2 lead after again lapse defending, which allowed Shoreham to score with consummative ease.
Worthing did reply to make it 4-3, another fantastic take and finish from Russell, however with Worthing looking to chase the game Shoreham capped their desired display and place in the final with another defensive error. 5-3 Shoreham. With that the final whistle blew and Worthing were left to rue the fact that more than a little bit was left in the tank.
Performance Coach Dave Hall was gutted for the players “the minimum in any match is 100% work rate and looking to earn the right to play. This unfortunately didn’t happen for many of the squad, which has left them with regrets I’m sure. Semi finals don’t come along so often and we really hope that the group learn from the experience and become stronger and better players for it. Shoreham are a very good side with many excellent players and we wish them well for the final. Defensively we were not at our normal high standards today and this is also something that leaves me gutted for the players as all season they have put in great effort and application to develop their performance. I’m looking forward for the rest of the season and seeing all players across both squads developing and realising their full potential.”