The Men’s Football Performance Programme travelled to Beckenham for their final National League fixture before half term, knowing that a positive result will give a solid start to their National League campaign.
Injuries, unavailabilities and players being rested for the FA Youth Cup meant that the squads depth and strength was again to be tested. Sam Marsden donned the gloves as none of the four recognised goalkeepers were available for selection. This gave an excellent opportunity for more of the squad to press a claim for National League starts. Joel Davison returned to the side after injury and he took his place alongside Marshall Ball and Scott Goodman in the heart of midfield.
Each game possesses different challenges, which is a vital part of this programme to develop the players game intelligence and this week was no different. Worthing started superbly as an attacking force, making effective decisions with great movement from the font three of James Thurgar, Harry Russell & Jake Heryet. Heryet was making intelligent runs, but either the final ball or the linesman’s flag were stopping him from getting on the score sheet. Worthing deservedly took the lead in the first ten minutes from a more direct approach. A Sam Marsden kick was angled to release Russell, whose first touch was excellent and took him away from the defender to finish with a deft chip. 1-0.
From this Worthing should have kicked on, but chances were going begging with Thurgar (from a well worked set piece), Dave Beaney and Davison all being guilty of not making the Club Langley keeper work. At this level all teams are dangerous and it was important that Worthing defended and did the basics well, however a long ball was allowed to bounce, which caused confusion to allow the Club Langley number 19 to beat Marsden. 1-1.
Worthing needed to refocus and make sure that they got back to the simple, effective game that they began the half with. Worthing did gain an advantage just before half time when Russell was quite clearly pulled back when about to go through on goal. With this the referee had no choice but to give the Club Langley centre back a red card.
Half time the focus was to get back to moving the ball quickly and effectively at pace and to their credit this is what Worthing did and could have taken the lead almost instantly. A lofted through ball was met by Russell, who was onside and finished well, however Heryet was ahead of play and was penalised.
Club Langley to their credit always looked dangerous on the break with some creative players on show, however they too were guilty of missing some chances and not really testing Marsden in goal. Worthing did finally take the lead on the hour. Russell again put through to finish effectively taking his tally to five in two games. 2-1.
This seemed to give Worthing confidence with Ball breaking up play looking to get Goodman and Davison more forward. Worthing’s third came a short time after with Russell taking a shot on his other foot, which was saved, however he intelligently played across to Heryet, who deservedly got his goal. 3-1.
This should have seen the game as won, however Club Langley kept going and they got a deserved foothold back into the game after some slack Worthing defending allowing the number 8 to run through and shoot across Marsden. 3-2.
Worthing then looked to compose themselves and with ten minutes to go the game was this time won. Superb work from Thurgar allowed him to cut in and finish 4-2. The attitude from the Worthing players was to not let up and this allowed them to kick on and score three more goals in the final five minutes. Davison and Goodman got their names on the scoresheet and with the last play of the game Scott Rafferty drove into the box and was tripped. He dusted himself down and smashed the penalty into the roof of the net with the final score being 7-2.
Performance Coach Dave Hall was pleased to sign off with a positive performance before half term “this time of year the weather begins to turn, so its important for these players to develop their game intelligence in terms of playing against different opposition and surfaces. This was the case today. We started excellently then had a dip, however its great credit to the squad that they stuck together and were composed, especially in the second half. Again a great learning experience and one we will take into the next busy half term period.”