The Worthing College Men’s ECFA Football squad travelled to Enfield, London to take on COHNEL and their 1st XI in the ECFA National League.
Worthing’s strength in depth was going to be tested as six of the squad were starting for Sussex Schools u18s in their first league match against Kent Schools u18s (which they won 3-1 with striker James Thurgar on target). This again gave a great opportunity to players to test themselves at National Level.
Players were needed to potentially sacrifice their own individual performance for changing positions and this was highlighted with the back four being made up of three central midfielders, so game intelligence was going to be high on the agenda.
Worthing started brightly and striker Jake (Meryet 16) Heryet was almost in on goal with his first touch after a great Eli Amoo flick, however the strikers touch was just too heavy. COHNEL were an attacking threat with their 9 and 10 being very tidy on the ball, however the Worthing backline were standing firm and when called into action keeper Luke Ramsay was more than up to the task with a couple of decent saves.
Worthing were providing a very effective high press to COHNEL and they were beginning to create chances both Heryet and Lucas Rodrigues were nicking the ball high and looking to counter. Ruben Schneider at left back was having a very effective game and his choice of passing led to the first goal for Worthing. His diagonal pass was latched onto by Eli Amoo and his cross found Rodrigues and then Heryet, who fired home. 1-0 Worthing.
Worthing were taking a hold of midfield with Curtis Griffin and Jamie Frankling working tirelessly to stop any COHNEL threat. When they did threaten skipper Marshall Ball was strong in set pieces and ensured a solid back line. Worthing’s dominance was paying off and Rodrigues should have had a second, but his strike was blazed over. However he was not to be denied a second time when he stole possession from the full back and cut across the bye line to slip the ball under the advancing keeper. 2-0.
Worthing were in command until the half time break and the focus was keeping our focus and discipline to keep the COHNEL onslaught at bay, which we knew may come. However to Worthing’s credit for the first part of the second half they kept their composure and despite conceding a soft goal, which Ramsay had no chance with as the number 9 struck the ball with such purpose. 2-1.
Worthing regrouped from this and extended their lead further with a great Schneider pass Rodrigues expertly controlled and lobbed the keeper with a classy finish. 3-1.
It seemed as if the points were safe as Worthing were in total command. Heryet was replaced by Liam Reynolds in a straight swap to continue the hard work already completed. But with this National Level teams are never out of the game and a flash point including Rodrigues and the COHNEL full back, which seemed to put Worthing out of their focus, which gave COHNEL the chance to get back into the game through a penalty, which was harsh on full back Charlie Williamson as it looks a very soft decision. 3-2 Worthing.
The final ten minutes were a little nerve racking, however the squad dug deep to bring the points back to the south coast.
Performance Coach Dave Hall is pleased with the education the squad got this week “going away from home at this level is very much different to what these players are used to. This was a great example of where game intelligence comes to the fore and to this young side and their credit they stuck at the task and deservedly put in an excellent away performance. The final 20 minutes still need to be looked at in terms of regaining focus, however I can’t be more proud of the whole squad today and the players representing their county. These opportunities are what the Football Performance Programme is all about.”