Worthing College Men’s ECFA squad took to the road looking to build upon the superb team performance the week previously. The opposition were in the form of newcomers Uxbridge College. Again changes were made with Jack Punter (rested) and Josh Etherington with external club commitments.
Harry Russell came back into the squad in place of the injured Sam Marsden. Jacob Heryet came onto the right wing with Ross Edwards replacing another injury, this time to skipper Scott Goodman.
The surface was not conducive to passing and flowing football, therefore the squad needed to develop their game intelligence further, which is what the programme is all about.
Worthing looked a little sluggish, however seemed to be the more positive with wingers Nick Oxley and Heryet both getting behind their respective full backs. However it was the hosts who took an unexpected lead. A long ball over the top was looking like keeper Jimmy Punter would clear with his head, however the surface kicked up, which allowed the Uxbridge number 9 to calmly slot the ball into an empty net. 0-1.
Worthing needed to react and this seemed to get them into gear. Strikes from Oxley, Harry Russell, Ross Edwards & Marshall Ball were placed on goal, but not enough to test the Uxbridge goalkeeper. However it wasn’t long until Worthing restored parity. The bobbly surface allowed the ball to break loose to Heryet, who struck the ball well into the far corner, off the post. 1-1.
This should have allowed Worthing to force themselves on proceedings, however Uxbridge to their credit stayed in the game, but frustrating Worthing, who were making too many poor decisions in and out of possession. Game intelligence and management was required, however slight naivety from Worthing gave Uxbridge the lead. A free kick on the edge of the box was given for diving in. As the wall re-treated the Uxbridge number 7 asked for the kick to be taken quickly, which he agreed and he placed the ball into the far corner with no-one to react. 1-2. Worthing were aggrieved, however this summed up their performance.
Again though to their credit Worthing kept on; looking to create chances, but not really testing the Uxbridge keeper. Nick Oxley came closest, but his strike was saved by the keepers legs. Harry Russell was looking to trouble the Uxbridge centre halves and had a great claim for a penalty, however the referee waved away his protests despite being shoved in the back.
The one real piece of quality of the half gave Worthing the equaliser. Great movement from Heryet, Mark Goldson and Russell allowed the ball to reach Dave Beaney, whose left foot strike flew into the far corner. 2-2.
Half time allowed the players to re-focus and make sure that those performance levels were not repeated, going back to basics and playing the conditions.
The second half had the same kind of theme with Uxbridge being extremely hard working and looking to catch Worthing on the break with their 4-2-4 formation. Worthing were looking to press and get the goal to take the lead for the first time, however chances were not too clear with the final pass just evading any attacker. Neither keeper had a clear save to make until Marshall Ball struck a free kick, which beat the Uxbridge stopper, however lucky for him the ball bounced down and somehow over the bar.
The game was looking like going to a stalemate, however it was that man Beaney who came up with the goods. He collected a ball around 30 yards out at the angle took a touch to control, out of the feet and struck the ball like an arrow into the far top corner. 3-2. Worthing take the lead for the first time with seconds remaining. The final whistle sounded for a positive result, however the performance was much to be desired.
Performance Coach Dave Hall was philosophical about the game “the score was a positive one, however we pride ourselves on performance and learning. Today the boys will need to take the lessons learned into their future games and must understand that each game is different and that the conditions must be played and considered. However its a sign of a good squad that despite a poor performance if a result can be grinded out then this can be of some credit. We move on and hope the learning process continues to be a positive one.”