The Worthing College Men’s Football AoC squad were back in action after a weeks layoff. The opposition were in the form of Chichester College 1st XI and what lied ahead was a stern test of Worthing’s development so far this season.
The game started brightly for Worthing with the midfield trio of Joel Davison, Marshall Ball and Isaiah Amoo not allowing Chichester to stamp their authority on the game. Worthing were building in confidence and began to play the first pass they saw and moved the ball at pace. Winger Nick Oxley beat his full back on more than on occasion, however the final ball was just eluding a Worthing touch and finish.
In the 18-yard box Worthing were producing some excellent combinations, with the most positive being between Eli Amoo and Harry Russell with the latter snatching at his volley strike, which ended up in the side netting. Russell was excelling after an 8-week layoff and was using the game exceptionally well to test his match fitness. The front three of Russell, Amoo and Oxley were combining well with fluid movement, however a piece of luck gave Worthing a well deserved lead. A Joel Davison speculative effort found its way to Russell, who took it in his stride and cooly found the back of the net 1-0.
Chichester needed to respond and made a tactical change, which provided a bit more fire power up front, however to Worthing’s credit their shape and discipline of the back four (Joe Patching, Joe Kennard, Carl Boath & Scott Rafferty) was clear to see and snuffed out any dangerous Chichester attacks. Patching was excellent in his positioning and shape, on more than one occasion cutting out passes into the wide man and starting up Worthing attacks.
Set pieces are a big part of how Worthing play and this was evident when Worthing extended their lead. Superb movement from Russell off the goalkeeper and excellent delivery from Marshall Ball saw the striker powerfully head home. 2-0.
With attacking set pieces being vital at the other end it was also extremely important to minimise chances, especially with Chichester’s aerial presence. Worthing defended admirably at both free kicks and corners, with one corner leading to an outstanding counter attack. A corner was cleared with Russell toe poking the ball out to Eli Amoo, who raced past the last defender and again cooly slotted the ball past the onrushing Chichester goalkeeper to give Worthing a 3-0 lead at the break.
After an outstanding first half the focus was to exceed the work rate and make sure that the game continued to be managed because as confidence grew more “hollywood” passes were being attempted, which needed to be minimised to ensure that the ball continued to do the work.
Chichester came out firing in the second half by being positive and taking the game to Worthing, however anything that was thrown at them was admirably stopped by goalkeeper Rui Buckland.
Worthing took on board the advice from half time and extended their lead further from another set piece. Marshall Ball curled in a superb free kick from the angle, which the Chichester goalkeeper could only wave in. 4-0.
Worthing were now in full stride with some great passing and possession football, also when out of possession the shape was excellent, which allowed them to win the ball back quickly. A fifth was soon to follow when Nick Oxley again broke down the left and crossed for Eli Amoo, however this evaded his touch, but not the Chichester centre half, who unfortunately turned the ball into his own net. 5-0.
With 15 minutes to play Worthing used their whole bench for all important game time with the only blot on the copy book being a late penalty converted by Chichester to make the final score 5-1 to the Worthing AoC squad.
Performance Programme Coach Dave Hall was exceptionally pleased with the afternoons work “the squad took on board the poor first half against Moneyfields FC and have really excelled themselves today and set a new standard. Playing against a well established College first team and not only holding their own, but showing superb shape, application and game intelligence has shown that they have come on such a long way since the start of the season. This has been one of the most satisfying fixtures of the season so far and now the challenge is to maintain this level of performance.”