Worthing made it four-in-a-row as they retained The Malcolm Gamlen Trophy last night against cross-town rivals, Worthing United. The silverware was lifted by Captain, Darren Budd after what proved to be a comfortable win against lower-ranked opposition. Although the men from Lyons Way were hardworking right from kick-off and gave the hosts a scare or two along the way.
In what was a useful workout for the men (back) in red, a similar looking line-up to Sunday’s opening pre-season victory against South Park took to the pitch in somewhat cooler conditions than the weekend. With the returning George Bentley taking his place between the sticks and towering centre-half, Jake Luff part of the second-half eleven the only other changes saw Hayden Skerry get a full forty-five minutes after the break and Trialist ‘B’, who was finally unmasked as Vincent Follea, turn out for the opposition. There were also some other familiar names lining up in blue and white as Taylor Seymour, James McKernan and Joel Davison were joined by Alfie Sparks and Dale Hurley on the visitors team sheet.
After a slightly slow start on Sunday it was a case of deja vu as George Bentley was forced to clear under pressure following a rare lapse in concentration by Joel Colbran. A few minutes later and normal service was resumed with Jazz Rance shooting wide after a Sam Rents corner was played short before the industrious Joe Clarke won the ball and found Callum Kealy, who drove forward on the right and stroked home from twenty yards to open both his account for the club and the evening’s scoring. Captain Rents was then unlucky to see his free kick from inside the ‘D’ come back off the crossbar, with Rance trying his luck from the edge of the area moments later followed by Clarke finding the side netting after neat interplay between him and the lively Ricky Aguiar. The home fans could sense another goal coming and they were duly rewarded when this time a free kick from Rents deceived everyone and nestled in the back of the net, past a stranded Matt Evans.
The last fifteen minutes of the half saw further chances carved out by a dominant home side as James Crane came close to adding his name to the scoresheet when he rose highest to get on the end of an Aguiar cross but could only direct his header straight into the grateful hands of the visiting player-manager. Danny Barker was the next to take aim when a long range effort drifted harmlessly wide followed by a brief moment of hesitation which allowed a defensive block to come to United’s aid. Aguiar was determined to add to his goal on Sunday but was unable to keep his shot down either side of a rasping effort from Rance which tested the sturdiness of the crossbar once more.
In a final attempt of the opening period it was the men from the other side of town who nearly got back in the game when they hit the side netting after persistent play from former Red, James McKernan.
While the second half saw Worthing change their entire outfield ten, The Mavericks made use of roll-on, roll-off substitutions to get minutes into their players legs.
Jesse Starkey started the next forty five minutes by firstly crossing for Hayden Skerry to test Evans before having a go himself, as the player-manager denied him directly this time. McKernan was then at it again, forcing the home team to clear their lines quickly to deny him a shot on goal. In what was generally a quieter half, Curt Gayler flashed a shot across the face of goal and Harrison Mott’s good work down the left went unrewarded when he couldn’t quite pull his cross back far enough to prevent Matt Evans taking a comfortable catch.
The final ten minutes saw another Starkey cross this time despatched by sixteen-year-old, Jasper Pattenden past sub ‘keeper Taylor Seymour as Worthing put the seal on their victory. Gayler had one last chance for either side as he blasted wide when a free kick was played short to him and the last few minutes saw The Reds forced to finish the game with ten men, that “man of mystery”, Trialist ‘A’ limping off with an ankle injury.
WORTHING 1st Half: Bentley, Colbran, Crane, Rents(C), Barker, Edwards, Parsons, Clarke, Kealy, Aguiar, Rance.
2nd Half: Bentley, Pattenden, Trialist ‘A’, Cocoracchio, Luff, Budd(C), Mthunzi, Skerry, Starkey, Gayler, Mott.
WORTHING UNITED: Evans, Craig Nagle ©, Hurley, Sparks, Joe Patching, Follea, Jordan Layton, Davison, McKernan, Aidan Robins, Omar Woods.
REFEREE – Barrie Small ASSISTANTS – Nigel Baker & Andy Higgins ATT – 130