Both Men’s Football Performance Programme squads completed half term top of both of their respective leagues with two convincing displays.
The 1st XI in the ECFA National League defeated SEEVIC of Essex 3-0 at Arundel FC in a physical and bruising display, where Worthing needed to keep their discipline to ensure that the points were secured. Worthing welcomed back captain Lewis Jenkins to add a little more experience into the squad, which Dave Hall felt he needed as in the past games again SEEVIC have been tight, physical affairs. He wasn’t to be disappointed.
Both sides looked to take their game to their opponents early on with two contrasting styles. Worthing with their quick, short and effective passing game and SEEVIC, who used a more direct approach.
The game was heading to a half time stalemate before the hosts took the lead. A wide free kick from Ryan Fergany was met by centre half Jordan Dudas, whose headed flew into the top corner of the next. This goal settled Worthing and allowed them to take a foothold in the game. As the half was about to end Worthing’s Shaun Cook and his SEEVIC counterpart clash in a strong, yet fair tackle. SEEVIC’s player didn’t think this was the case and took the law into his own hands by placing his head onto Cook’s. The referee was right next to the incident and had no choice but to send the SEEVIC man off.
The talk at half time was based upon making sure the extra man counted as in too many instances the team with 10 usually took the game to their opponents. To their credit the Worthing players took this on board and kept possession exceptionally well, which made their opposition tire and begin to get frustrated.
With the score only being 1-0 it was always a tentative lead and one that needed extending to ensure the points were secured. Mid way through the half the lead was extended with a superb team goal. James and Ryan Fergany combined well with the former attacking the byeline and standing the ball up to the back post, where substitute Jack Barnes was on hand to head the ball in at the far post.
Even though the lead was doubled a goal back for SEEVIC was set up a grandstand finish, but when required Worthing goalkeeper James Binfield was on hand to keep the Worthing sheet clean.
Last week coach Hall was disappointed with the quality of set piece set up, but he would have been delighted with Worthing’s third and eventual game winner. Substitute Harvey Sparks delivered a pin point corner for captain Jenkins to head home like a bullet into the top corner.
The game was won, but there was still time for additional controversy. Centre half Greg Gander was the victim of a poor two footed challenge and in the melee that ensued Gander was head butted by the SEEVIC centre forward and received a shiner for his troubles. The referee again had no choice, but to take SEEVIC down to 9 players.
A convincing win to end the half term top of the ECFA National League table and coach Dave Hall was proud of his players “the boys today were exceptional. I had a word with a couple of the boys, who I felt were not performing to their potential and they definitely came through today. I was especially impressed with the back four of Josh and Jacob Parazo, Greg Gander and Dudas, who were all dominant and outstanding. Again this group of players have set the standard and its nice to be top of the table, however no league is won in November. Both squads and all players are developing well and if this continues potentially results will follow, however in our minds its game intelligence and development that come first.”
The 2nd XI took on Collyers of Horsham 1st XI in the British Colleges’ Performance League and they put in an even more convincing performance winning 6-1 away from home.
Jared Rance gave Worthing the lead after Charlie Dennis flicked on and Rance fired into the roof of the net. Collyers equalised after Worthing switched off from a throw in to leave the scores equal at half time.
Winger Harry Smith and Rance combined for the latter’s cross to be deflected into the Collyers goal. Ryan Hallett’s 25 yard free kick deflected off Rance’s back to provide daylight between the teams at 3-1. Worthing were at times playing some excellent and effective football and this was shown in their fourth. Full back Cameron Morrison and Smith combined to pull the ball back to Dennis, who slotted the ball home 12 yards out. Smith got in on the act for Worthing’s fifth after a progressive build up from the defence, Smith took on a through ball to slot the ball under the advancing goalkeeper. The final goal of the game was arguably the best with Morrison combining with substitute Sam Brice and his cross was met on the full volley by Dennis, which found the top corner of the net. All in all a great team performance with many of these players pushing for a 1st XI squad berth.
The Women’s Football Performance Programme visited a strong Reading side in the BCS Elite League, who reached the BCS cup final last season, knowing they would have to be at their best to get a positive result from the afternoon. Worthing started with a high tempo pressing the ball all over the pitch and getting much success winning the ball high up. This resulted in the Reading’s keeper being much the busier making a number of early saves.
Jade Widdows was proving to be a real threat down the right beating her full back on a number of occasions both inside and outside and this was to prove to be the break through moment when Widdows ducked on the inside of her opponent and bent the ball into the far corner past the desperate dive of the keeper. 1-0 Worthing and much deserved with Nat Woolven being a spectator from the Worthing goal.
The pressure on the ball was bringing Worthing much joy with Becky Simmons hitting the bar after a great run down the left and smashing the ball past the goalkeeper only to see it thunder against the bar. The second followed quickly however when Darcey James drove past several opponents breaking into the box to square for Aliss Pidduck to finish for her 2nd goal in 2 games.
2-0 Worthing with half gone and well in control there looked no way back for Reading. That was until the ref gave a controversial penalty with 2 minutes remaining of the half that was to turn the game back toward Reading.
After no shots in 43 minutes of the half Reading where given a golden opportunity to score from the spot when a shot hit Paige Walders hand from a yard away with no time to react. Nat Woolvens first action of the half was to pick the well taken penalty out of the back of the net. 2-1 and a way back in for Reading.
With the half time whistle came much questioning of the ref and Worthing had lost their focus on the game.
Reading started the second half much the brighter with Worthing still not focussed this was to quickly backfire on Worthing when after 15 minutes the quick Reading forward broke through on goal and finished well past Woolven 2-2 and any bodies games. Worthing where visibly shaken by the goal and it seemed Reading must go on and win the game.
Despite this Worthing were still threatening on the break away.
The final and killer blow came with just 5 minutes left on the clock when a well struck shot from 25 yards beat Woolven and flew into the top corner to make the score 3-2 to Reading. This final shook Worthing into action who then bombarded the Reading goal for the final 5 minutes but to no avail.
A game very much lost by a Worthing side who started so brightly but let outside influences affect their game.
Onwards & Upwards,
Dave & Mike