Worthing end season with a 2-2 draw against Brightlingsea Regent
Billy Hunt’s spot-kick in the final seconds meant Worthing had to settle for a 2-2 draw in their final game of the season against Brightlingsea Regent.
The visitors took the lead midway through the second half when Aaron Condon shot through the finger tips of player of the season Lucas Covolan and into the bottom corner.
It only lasted two minutes though, as George Barker bundled in the equaliser, and Worthing completed the comeback in the 77th minute when Sam Rents struck to make it 2-1.
Three minutes for stoppages were added on at the end of the 90 minutes, enough time for the visitors to be reduced to nine men as James Love and Jake Gould were sent-off.
That wasn’t the end of the action though as substitute Danny Barker clattered into Condon in the penalty area and Hunt converted from the spot with the final kick of the season.
Manager Adam Hinshelwood handed a first team debut to 17-year-old Harrison Mott, making a total of six changes to the side that beat Enfield Town last weekend.
Mott made a lively start, playing a pivotal role in some slick passing moves for the hosts, and in the ninth minute he struck over the bar from long range.
In the 20th minute Ben Pope slotted through to George Barker but Brightlingsea goalkeeper James Bradbrook did well to block his first-time shot with his foot.
Just after the half hour mark Joel Colbran headed wide from close range before Bradbrook parried away Reece Myles-Meekums’ stinging shot following Jesse Starkey’s lay-off as the first half possession was dominated by the hosts.
The visitors showed more attacking threat during the early stages of the second half as Billy Hunt was allowed to turn in the Worthing penalty area but Covolan did well to turn his low shot around the post.
Hunt then raced down the left wing and shot tamely at defender Alfie Young before Covolan palmed away his follow up shot.
Worthing almost broke the deadlock in the 58th minute when Myles-Meekums broke through on the right and lobbed the onrushing Bradbrook. In an effort to clear, defender Love sliced against his own crossbar and Pope was unable to scramble in the rebound.
Ten minutes later it was Brightlingsea who took the lead when Condon slipped in behind the Worthing defence and found bottom corner, despite Covolan’s best efforts to keep it out.
Their lead only lasted for two minutes though, as Barker was on hand to bundle over the line from close range to make it 1-1.
Condon had a great chance to double his tally in the 75th minute but slipped as he lined up to volley from six-yards, diverting wide.
Two minutes later he was punished as Harvey Sparks set up Rents whose low shot across goal bounced in off the far post to give Worthing the lead.
The tie was by no means over though, and an altercation involving substitute Zack Newton in stoppage time led to a fracas in the middle of the pitch.
Both Love and Gould were deservedly shown straight red cards for lashing out in the melee, while Newton escaped with a booking.
Despite being down to ten men, Brightlingsea continued to press for an equaliser, and when substitute Danny Barker felled Condon, Hunt found the bottom corner from the spot.
The result meant Worthing slipped from a highest possible finish of 13th down to 16th in the final league standings, but finish 21 points above relegated Tooting and Mitcham Untied and just six points outside the top half.
After the game goalkeeper Covolan was awarded player of the season, while Reece Myles-Meekums won the final player of the month award in front of a crowd of 1,060.
Worthing: Covolan, Colbran, Racine (Rents 45’), Mott (Newton 63’), Edwards, Young, Myles-Meekums, G. Barker, Pope, Starkey (D. Barker 81’), Sparks (c).
Subs Not Used: Sisimayi, Pamment.
Goals: Barker 70’, Rents 77’.
Brightlingsea Recent: Bradbrook, Keys (Gage 67’), Jake Gould, Love, Josh Gould, Cripps (c), Griggs (Harvey 32’), Turner, Hunt, Condon, Clowsley (Newland 81’).
Subs Not Used: Newland, Amass, O’Connor.
Goals: Condon 68’,
Booked: Love 56’.