The Worthing College Men’s Football ECFA XI were looking to build upon their positive form at the end of 2017 with a quick start in 2018.
Solid work in training had set up the squad for the task at hand; a last 16 ESFA National Cup tie against Farnborough College at home. Worthing made a couple of changes from their last fixture with Fintan Walsh and Matt Boiling coming into the side and Harrison Mott taking his place in midfield alongside captain Jamie Frankling and Ricky Aguiar.
Worthing College started at a quick intensity with full back Charlie Williamson looking to find opposite winger Lewis Broughton with every opportunity. Worthing College started direct with their approach and look to start on the front foot. They almost took the lead through Jack Newhouse, who met a James Younger cross, but went just over the bar. Broughton also stung the palms of the Farnborough keeper and Matt Boiling was stopped twice from opening the scoring, once by a goal line clearance and the other by a smart stop.
As the half wore on Farnborough started to be a bit more adventurous with their play and forced a number of set pieces, one of which opened the scoring, arguably against the run of play. A straight free kick was headed home by the Farnborough centre back, which looped over the advancing Luke Ramsay in the Worthing College goal 0-1.
To their credit Worthing College stepped up their intensity by looking to play the ball through midfield. Mott, Aguiar and Frankling began to get hold of the ball and make things happen. The only thing missing was the finish and testing the opposition goalkeeper.
At half time the focus was to continue the intensity, but to enhance the game intelligence further, by looking to solve problems on the pitch.
Worthing College couldn’t have asked for a better start to the half with Boiling driving a pass into Luke Brodie, who flicked in Jack Newhouse. The Worthing College winger then beat his man and hit an unstoppable shot into the far corner. 1-1.
Worthing College didn’t stop there though. Another great move saw Brodie played in by Broughton only for his run to be stopped short by the advancing keeper. Penalty Worthing College. Brodie stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way for his 15th goal of the season. 2-1.
With Worthing College taking the lead the game then turned a little scrappy with both sides putting in some fair, but robust challenges. To their credit Worthing College stuck together as a team and begun to get a foothold in the game again. Full backs Younger and Williamson were working well to thwart and also start attacks.
The goal that killed off the game was created by the tireless Mott, who won the ball in midfield and then played a reverse pass into Broughton, who slid the ball past the onrushing Farnborough keeper. 3-1.
Worthing College then needed to use their game intelligence to take the sting out the game. Substitutions were made with Ruben Denyer Schneider replacing Newhouse and Callum Litterick replacing Mott. This enhanced Worthing College’s foothold in the game with Litterick breaking up play and Schneider providing excellent width and quality on the ball. Worthing also had the ball in the next for a 4th time, however Schneider was adjudged to be offside when he crossed excellently for Broughton to head in.
Boiling was again stopped from getting on the scoresheet, this time from the crossbar and Litterick also hit a post from a well worked corner.
Toni Minter also came on to add his dynamism on the right hand side to replace Broughton and Worthing College continued to play at a positive intensity right until the final whistle, which saw them into the last 8 of the ESFA National Cup, which will be drawn on Monday.
Performance Coach Dave Hall has been extremely pleased with the squads progress “the aim of the programme is for players to develop their game intelligence and we have been working hard with them on the mental side of the game. Today was an excellent example of how they are growing as not only players, but people too. The intensity for 3/4 of the game was outstanding and to combine this with quality on the ball is showing that they are all moving in the right direction. Today the whole squad were outstanding and those who were left out showed an excellent attitude and I know they will be knocking on my door to get themselves into the starting line up for the next set of games coming up. This is a positive environment to be in, but they need to refocus and make sure the standards are maintained for the next training sessions and matches.”