Another week, another challenge, another learning opportunity for the Worthing College Men’s Football Programme. This time it was in the form of the England Schools National Cup, which is an U18s competition and adding to that FA Youth Cup commitments it gave an opportunity for more players to get game time and to impress.
The opposition were Godalming College, an unknown quantity to Worthing, therefore the attitude, application and quality needed to again as always be of a high standard.
Joe Patching & Joe Kennard came into the backline after impressive performances in the AoC XI, James Thurgar & Eli Amoo were given starts after positive performances in training.
The pitch was a good surface despite the weather, however its size was going to give Worthing a challenge in terms of adaptability.
Worthing started positively, however the small pitch allowed for possession to be turned over relatively quickly. As Worthing were pressing high this allowed wingers Thurgar and Jake Heryet to be positive and provide crossing opportunities, but came to no real clear cut chances.
Godalming were always in the game with brave and strong defending and looking to break on Worthing, however centre back pairing of Kennard & Pat Webber were solid, making good decisions and covered effectively by full back Nick Oxley & Patching. This made goalkeeper Rui Buckland a spectator apart from having the ball at his feet.
As the half grew Worthing were becoming more dominant and by forcing Godalming back this allowed the midfield of Mark Goldson, Joel Davison & Marshall Ball to move play forward with short, sharp passing and movement. Despite this dominance Godalming were standing tall with some impressive blocks and clearances. However Worthing did come the closest to breaking the deadlock. Mark Goldson forced the Godalming keeper into a great save after a well struck volley and Thurgar hit the bar after good work from Amoo.
Half time whistle sounded with the teams level. The focus at half time was to stay patient and keep doing what we were doing both in and out of possession and chances will surely come.
Worthing again started positively with Davison hitting a great 20-yard effort, but the keeper saved. Worthing were looking to move the ball with 2/3 touches and this started to stretch Godalming, despite the pitch size. Worthing finally broke the deadlock in the 50th minute. Eli Amoo turned his defender and from just over 20 yards out produced a swerving strike that totally fooled the Godalming keeper. 1-0.
From this Godalming started to come out, which provided even more space for Worthing to play. From this the second goal came. Great combination play from Thurgar and Oxley with Thurgar’s cross being saved, but the loose ball being met by Davison, whose shot found the far corner. 2-0.
A change was made with Harry Russell replacing Amoo and looking to change the angle of attack again the two robust Godalming centre backs. A tidy Russell turn resulted in a free kick, which Marshall Ball curled just over.
Godalming never stopped and looked at times dangerous on the counter attack. One chance saw their number 10 hit the ball straight at Buckland. All game Worthing’s movement from set pieces was much improved from the previous week and a corner from Marshall Ball set up the third, with the in-form Jake Heryet scoring with a bullet header. 3-0.
With Worthing having one foot in the next round changes were made with Carl Boath replacing Webber, Josh Warner replacing Goldson and Conor Bull replacing Thurgar. To their credit Worthing’s approach never diminished with some excellent 1-2 touch football. A free flowing move resulted in Warner hitting a sweet strike just over.
With that the final whistle blew with a 3-0 win and more importantly a very positive performance, which coach Dave Hall emphasised “today was a great response after Uxbridge, even though the results were the same the performance this week showed so much game intelligence and the second half performance especially got the result the team deserved. I was pleased with all performances, however it was fantastic to see players stepping up into the squad for the first time, which shows excellent strength in depth, which can only be a positive for the rest of the season in terms of their footballing education.”