Close encounter with Leiston ends all square
Worthing extended their unbeaten league streak to three games after a cagey home encounter against play-off chasing Leiston.
Reece Hallard scored from a tight angle in the 16th minute to put the Reds ahead early on but Matt Blake snatched an equaliser 10 minutes before half-time.
The second half was a tighter affair but an excellent showing from Lucas Covolan – who denied the visitors a seemingly-sure winner on two occasions – kept the game all square, leaving Adam Hinshelwood’s men five points from safety.
Worthing got off to an energetic start, with a Kieron Pamment corner hitting the bar within two minutes. Four minutes later Darren Budd’s crafty turn allowed him a scoring opportunity, but his shot was blocked by a Blues defender.
Sam Rents’ low edge-of-the-box free kick was palmed away by Leiston’s Marcus Garnham in the 12th minute, and Ben Pope almost scored from the resultant corner, his tight-angle shot just edging past the post.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 16th minute. Pamment’s corner fell to Joel Colbran, whose blocked shot rebounded to Hallard, who buried his shot into the bottom corner.
The match became increasingly physical from then on, with Chris Henderson being cautioned for the visitors in the 18th minute before Reece Meekums was awarded a yellow card two minutes later.
After a few chances for Leiston, Blake equalised for the Blues in the 36th minute, shooting past Covolan from inside the box after being played in by Christy Finch.
Scoring opportunities for Jared Rance and Sam Rents came and went just before half time, but the visitors would’ve scored a second were it not for an excellent save from Covolan and Colbran’s subsequent clearance.
The second half started off tightly, with no real chances for either side until the 55th minute, when Rance’s run from midfield ended in a driven shot that Garnham just managed to push away. Yellow cards for Rance and Leiston’s Seb Dunbar bookended that chance.
Hinshelwood pushed for a late goal, bringing off Pope and Ruben Schneider for Jimmy Wild and Harvey Sparks in the 70th minute before replacing Rance with Alex Parsons in the 81st, but it was the visitors who had the clearest chances in the dying minutes.
It was keeper Covolan who kept Worthing in the game, making a two quick point-blank saves in the 77th minute before diving well in 80th minute in a one-on-one with Blake.
Worthing: Covolan, Colbran, Rents, Budd, Young, Hallard, Meekums, Pamment, Pope (c) (Wild 70’), Rance (Parsons 81’), Schneider (Sparks 70’)
Subs not used: Watson, O’Sullivan
Goals: Hallard 16’
Booked: Meekums 20’, Rance 56’
Leiston FC: Garnham, Trotter, Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence, Henderson, Blake, Finch (Marsden 84’), Docherty (Brothers 61’)
Subs not used: Cheetham
Goals: Blake 36’
Booked: Henderson 18’, Dunbar 54’, Brothers 74’