The Worthing College Men’s ECFA XI were looking forward to another ECFA National League season, welcoming newcomers Pro Direct Academy of North London to Worthing FC.
After a positive pre season during August and early September Worthing College were looking to get off to a positive start. Performance Programme Coach Dave Hall, assisted by former player Jimmy Punter decided for an experienced line up with only James Younger and Joe Kinsman making their debuts on the right hand side for the College.
The same started evenly, but Worthing arguably shaded the first thirty minutes with Kinsman in particular causing havoc in behind the Pro Direct defence and could have had a penalty after going through with the goalkeeper only to be taken out head high. Nothing given though.
The turning point in the first half could have been the loss of centre midfielder Curtis Griffin to injury, and this seemed to give Pro Direct more of a foothold in proceedings. Despite this Harrison Mott, who replaced Griffin looked to dominate and put his foot into the tackle when required.
During pre season work on set pieces, both in attack and defence were practiced and refined, or so was thought. This ended up being the undoing of Worthing and eventually giving their visitors the lead after a corner to the back post was left unguarded 0-1.
Worthing responded positively and should have been level through Luke Brodie. A Luke Ramsay clearance was timed perfectly into Brodie’s path, who finished superbly, however the assistant referees flag was raised.
As the half grew on Pro Direct started to be more powerful, quicker and more game intelligent than the home side and they doubled their lead again from a set piece, with defenders ball watching and another free header 0-2.
The focus at half time was to keep composure, get back to basics and look to get the next goal in the game, which they would be more than capable of. However it was the opposition, who started brightly and again extended their lead through a driving run from their influential number 8. 0-3.
Again Worthing needed to stay positive, however they were not looking likely to press the Pro Direct goal, despite a lot of territory and set piece opportunities. When possession was lost Worthing were not getting back into their shape quickly enough and were being punished. The 4th came when a midfield run wasn’t tracked from a free kick. 0-4.
Hall made changes with Giuseppe Gaute Lammi coming on for Jack Newhouse, Charlie Williamson coming on for the injured Lewis Broughton and Callum Chalmers making his debut replacing Luke Rutherford.
Gaute Lammi looked to get the ball down and make the midfield tick again, Williamson tried to put his stamp on the game with driving forward runs and passes. Chalmers impressed on debut with his work rate and hold up play.
As the game wore on and Worthing pressed Pro Direct scored a further two goals to make the final score 6-0 and one that will be a lesson for all staff and players from Worthing to take onto the rest of the season.
Performance Coach Dave Hall was philosophical in defeat “today the players have found out what is required to perform at this level. As part of their game intelligence development they will need to earn the right first, to stamp their own authority on the game. I’m a little frustrated that we conceded three from set pieces, as this is something we work on, but again we have been taught lessons in the past at this level and for me as part of development this is needed at times, especially from teams around other parts of the country as if players are looking to play at a high level they will need to test themselves against the best from around England, which this programme allows them to do. After watching the video training will focus upon set pieces and recovery runs, which I’m sure the players will react positively to and look forward to seeing a reaction in next weeks set of games. I would like to highlight that I was pleased with the work of the first year debutants and I’m looking forward to working with the squad this season.”