While the crowd may have been a tad under 100,000 and the weather not quite matching it’s Australian counterpart, the travelling “ Barmy Army “ from the South Coast were still in a party mood after upsetting the odds against their National League South opponents.
- Whelpdale (51')
- Crane (21', 77')
With Rhyle Ovenden’s return to the team – in place of Callum Kealy – the only change from Tuesday’s rather uneventful draw at Bostik New Boys, Potters Bar Town, the visitors also included three of the Under-18’s side that had won at Three Bridges in The FA Youth Cup on Thursday night, on the bench.
It was Chelmsford who were first on the attack, when Mickey Spillane’s chipped cross from the left came back off the far post, before Lucas almost pushed his luck too far by trying to take on Shoreham-born Rhys Murphy, escaping with a goal-kick, in an uncharacteristically shakey first-half performance form the usually reliable Number One.
Still in the very early stages of the game and it was Worthing’s chance to try and beat Nathan McDonald at the other end. Jesse Starkey’s free-kick from the inside-left channel, was met by Joel Colbran on the charge but his header flew over the bar.
Murphy then came close to opening the scoring, as he let fly from at least twenty yards, his shot hitting the net-supporting post behind the goal.
A minute later and it was the men in black, socks, who silenced the home crowd by breaking the deadlock. Another Starkey delivery from the left, this time a corner, was met with a powerful downward header from left-back, James Crane.
The Whites chased, literally, a second goal, when David Ajiboye sped away down the right wing after receiving Covolan’s throw-out but, the ball agonisingly ran away from him and he was stopped in his tracks, just short of the byline.
Approaching the final third of the opening forty-five minutes, Joe Anderson picked out the run of Tom Wraight, who broke the offside trap, only to poke his effort narrowly wide of the target.
While the same player forced Lucas to save low down to his right as he fired towards goal in the final action of the period.
Chris Whelpdale headed inches over the crossbar a few minutes into the second-half, with a chance that merely acted as a precursor to The Claret’s equaliser.
Ajiboye lost possession from a throw-in and the aforementioned, Whelpdale made his way along the edge of the penalty area, before driving a low shot past the despairing dive of Covolan, into the bottom corner.
The initiative was soon back with the visitors though, as Starkey played a right-wing corner shortish, to Ollie Pearce, whose subsequent shot was cleared off the line by Michael Young.
That relative profligacy was nearly punished, when a rash (early) tackle by Jazz Rance gave Chelmsford a free-kick in a dangerous position, out on the right flank. Anderson whipped it in but the giant Rob Swaine sent his header soaring over the bar.
After that let-off, Ajiboye went close when he tried his luck from the inside-right channel, twenty-five yards from goal, before Pearce, of all people, was in the right place at the right time, to clear a Spillane attempt off the line, to maintain the status quo.
With fifteen minutes to go, Worthing went back in front, in identical fashion to earlier on, as Crane met another Starkey flag-kick to emphatically put his team ahead for a second and, ultimately, decisive time.
Entering the final few minutes, substitute, Jai Reason called Lucas into action and Starkey clattered into the Assistant Referee as he chased the clearance but couldn’t prevent a throw-in, which was eventually headed wide by Wraight.
As time slowly ticked past the regulation ninety minutes, it was all hands to the deck, as Ajiboye was forced to put the ball behind for a corner before he had a chance to add some gloss to the scoreline, when Starkey led a counter-attack and found replacement, Ricky Aguiar on the left. His cross found it’s way over to our unmarked top-scorer, who could only find an expectant visiting support behind the goal.
The final word, however, came from a now beleaguered home side, as the towering Swaine headed a late chance into the grateful hands of Covolan.