The Worthing College Men’s Football Performance Programme 1st XI left it late to gain a well earned point away at Richmond in the England Colleges’ National League. On a difficult playing surface for both teams it was the home team, who began the brighter with their talented number 10 getting on the scoresheet after Worthing conceded possession in a dangerous position and Worthing keeper James Binfield was wrong footed.
Worthing responded well and began to gain a foothold in the game with Harvey Sparks striking just wide, Josh Marshall being thwarted by the Richmond goalkeeper after a fine pass by Jared Rance. Centre half Jordan Dudas also struck the bar with a header after a well worked Sparks free kick.
Worthing just needed to keep going to make sure they were back in the game and the 2nd half was only one way traffic. The Richmond back 5 (including goalkeeper) had a fine match, throwing themselves in front of everything and clearing off the line from Rance and substitute Harry Smith. Marshall should have had a penalty as he was fouled in the box, but as he feel outside the linesman deemed this to be a free kick, which Jack Barnes whipped across the box, which evaded all and sundry.
With 5 minutes to go Worthing sacrificed a defended and moved to a 3-3-4 formation and it paid dividends, with substitute Charlie Dennis winning possession and feeding Greg Gander, who found Marshall and he finished cooly under pressure to gain a point for the away side.
Performance Programme Coach Dave Hall praised the teams performance “to their credit the players never stopped playing the right way. They never got frustrated, which shows how far they are developing in terms of their game intelligence, which is something we work on in the programme. With regards to changing formation sometimes it works as a coach, sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s why you are a coach to try and change things, but all the credit for today’s point is down to the players they were excellent. The only down side was a serious injury to Harvey Sparks, who broke his ankle in a late tackle. I really feel for Harvey, who has been excellent for us this season. We will do all we can to rally round and help in his rehabilitation to make sure he comes back stronger next season.”
Unfortunately the 2nd XI lost their 100% BCS Performance League record, going down to Portsmouth College 1st XI 3-1. Hayden Hunter scored Worthing’s goal and according to Performance Coach Danny Cullip the scoreline flattered Portsmouth, as Worthing played well, but missed chances cost Worthing dear. The scoring of an own goal and giving away a penalty also didn’t help Worthing’s cause.
On Friday the Football Performance Programme were again in action, due to recent poor weather. Worthing College took on a very strong Kingston College in the England Colleges’ National Cup. Worthing fielded 8 first years in their starting line up, which definitely bodes well for the future. Worthing took the lead after a well worked corner caused confusion in the Kingston area and the Kingston centre half headed past his own goalkeeper.
Kingston were extremely athletic and powerful and seemed to want the ball more than Worthing, which showed with the pressure Worthing had to withstand. Centre half Greg Gander was cutting out everything Kingston could throw at him, but he couldn’t stop a headed equaliser. The game seemed to be going into half time level, but a little bit of indecision in the inexperienced Worthing rearguard sent through the Kingston winner, who finished emphatically. There was still chance for Worthing to equalise, but a Jack Barnes free kick was headed wide by Harry Smith.
With a few honest words at half time Worthing showed a great response in the second half. Striker Jared Rance ran himself to a stand still, Tyrone Madhani played well in the hole and Gander continued to command at the back. Barnes was trying to get things going in midfield and Charlie Dennis on his first start was giving his full back a torrid time. Despite this Worthing didn’t really create any clear cut chances as Kingston seemed to get the final touch and luck of the bounce. So with the final score 2-1 to the hosts Performance Coach Dave Hall was philosophical in defeat “Kingston totally deserved the win today from the first half showing. They were first to every ball and I think some of the players lost the game in their heads today. It doesn’t matter how big and physical the opposition are; if you keep possession and trust your technique then you will compete and today was a learning curve. However there were 8 first years in the starting eleven today with two making their first start, so if they continue to learn and develop against players like these then it will only better them and the future hopefully looks bright.”
The Rugby Performance Programme unfortunately bowed out of the Under 18’s County Cup at the Semi Final stage. Worthing College took on Seaford College at Worthing Leisure Centre. Worthing led at half time, but ended up on the end of a 26-21 scoreline. Scorers on the day were Jack Ware and Rhys Thompson with Jordan Gibson kicking the extras. Despite defeat at such a pivotal stage, Performance Coach Ben Coulson was proud of his charges “we worked extremely hard today and created the opportunity to win against a very strong private school. We only went behind with three minutes to go, which shows they punished our mistakes, which is what is expected at this level of rugby. We still could have won the game with the last play, but on the day it wasn’t to be. This group of players have made great strides since the start of the season and the squad is unrecognisable from those who arrived in September, which shows that the programme is working in terms of developing rugby players and their performance.”
Onwards & Upwards,