For the first time the Worthing College Football Performance Programme held a double header at Worthing FC. The feast of football began with the National Cat 1 League encounter against 10 Football Academy, who are part of Tooting & Mitcham FC.
Worthing knew that they were going to have to start sharp to impose themselves on their London based counterparts. Worthing did start positively on the front football and kept a good shape with possession being turned over in higher areas of the pitch. The focus in training during the week had been attacking at pace by limiting the amount of touches taken, which was proven by the opening goal scored by Harry Russell neatly under the onrushing keeper after a defence splitting pass from Scott Goodman. 1-0.
Worthing continued to press, however the opposition looked threatening going forward with Rui Buckland making a couple of solid saves, showing positive handling. Worthing continued the strong start and doubled their lead, again it was Russell on hand who cooly slotted home. The visitors were definitely stunned and this was shown by some arguing and disagreement. Worthing needed to take advantage of this and they certainly did with one of the best moves of the game from an opposition corner Worthing broke superbly with Mark Goldson finding the impressive Jake Heryet, who squared for Russell to complete his hat trick. 3-0.
Worthing should have been out of sight, however at National League level no game is ever safe. With 10 minutes until the half an innocuous free kick was deflected for a corner and from the resultant set piece 10 Academy were back in the game 3-1. Then just before half time the killer goal from the visitors. Too many touches in the defensive third allowed the quick and skilful winger in to slot past Buckland. 3-2.
The focus at half time was to sure up defensively and not allow runners to go beyond and for all to take responsibility. Worthing again started the half brightly looking excellent in possession, however again defensively as a unit they were found wanting. 10 Academy drew level 10 minutes into the second half. A great strike from the right winger produced an outstanding save from Buckland, however the ball came off the bar into the path of the onrushing striker. 3-3.
Worthing were still creating in the final third, however too many touches were being taken, which led to shooting opportunities being turned down. The turning point in the game was on of freakish nature. A second ball deep in 10 Academy’s half was cleared by the centre back with such gusto that Buckland misjudged the ball and ended up in the goal. 4-3.
To their credit Worthing continued to press and look to play the right way, however 10 Academy extended their lead with 10 minutes left. A half clearance dropped to the 10 Academy number 7, who to his credit curled the ball past Buckland into the far corner. An exquisite strike. 5-3.
From this point on it was all Worthing and they got back into the game quickly. A Goldson strike was only parried, which allowed Nick Oxley to finish well past the stranded keeper. 5-4.
With the final whistle ever closer both sides started to panic in possession, however it was Worthing who were creating. Two penalty shouts turned down, one for handball and the other for a trip were waved away. There was even time for a disallowed Oxley header after some great build up play from the midfield, in particular Ross Edwards. However it was not to be and the final whistle sounded with the visitor being victorious.
Performance Coach Dave Hall was philosophical in defeat “at times today it was the best attacking display from a side I have seen in a long time, however for some reason we didn’t defend as well as we have done in the first five/six games and therefore potentially deserved to be second best [especially conceding 5 goals at home]. For me we are not far away at all, but as long as the players learn from this experience and come back as better players and people this is all we can ask for from this process. Four games into the season I can again say that we can more than compete at this level. We will go again at training and look to develop our game intelligence into next week’s fixture.”