Some of you will remember the two four-three epics between Liverpool and Newcastle United in the mid-nineties. They said after the first one that it couldn’t happen again. Well, lightning struck twice on Saturday at The Bibby Financial Services Stadium too, as local rivals Worthing and Lewes served up a feast of football, with The Rooks exacting revenge for Joe Clarke’s dramatic late winner at the Dripping Pan, back in October.
The home side lined-up with virtually the same team that had finished the midweek win at Whitehawk; Jasper Pattenden being the exception, on his full debut. Will Miles and Callum Kealy were amongst the substitutes.
An action-packed derby got underway and it was Ollie Pearce who saw his shot glance wide off Frankie Chappell after only two minutes. Joe Clarke dispossessing Olumide Oluwatimilehin on the halfway line, to set the striker racing away.
Ricky Aguiar found himself in space just outside the area, to pick up a Pattenden corner but he couldn’t keep his effort down, before David Ajiboye broke down the right and got past Stacey Freeman to set up Pearce, who was once again denied by Lewes Captain, Chappell.
Harry Reed then came close to presenting the visitors with the opening goal but, Luke Blewden got his low cross stuck under his feet and KP was able to pounce on the ball.
Aguiar’s free-kick saw Aarran Racine’s back post header well-saved by Lewis Carey; who would have been relieved to see Colbran’s drive fly narrowly over, following a one-two with the ever-impressive, Pattenden that had resulted in him charging into the penalty area.
Our marauding right-back combined with the debutant once more, as he headed his corner a fraction too high.
The first major talking point of the afternoon left the hosts a man light: Perntreou’s poor pass out to Aguiar, put the slick-haired midfielder under pressure on the edge of the area and Omarr Lawson was quick to sense the danger. The referee initially pointed to the spot when Aguiar hauled down the visitor’s number ten but, changed his mind on the advice of his assistant and, subsequently awarded a free-kick, inches outside the box, dismissing Aguiar.
Despite the set-piece coming to nothing, it didn’t take The Easterners long to forge ahead.
This time, Joe Clarke brought down Lawson in the centre circle and a quick-thinking James Hammond, spotting Kleton off his line, launched a Beckham-esque shot sailing over the forlorn ‘keeper into the back of the net, via the underside of the crossbar.
That lead didn’t last long though, as Clarke won a free-kick that was expertly dispatched into the top corner by Pearce.
So, one-all at half-time, right ? Wrong ! Oluwatimilehin threaded the ball through to Charlie Coppolla, from just inside the hosts half and he let fly from around twenty-five yards, with a slight deflection handing the initiative back to The Blues once more.
Two soon changed to three, when Kieron Pamment dashed clear down the left, got in behind Colbran and between him and Racine, whereupon, Perntreou saved his goalbound effort, only for Luke Blewden to gobble up the rebound.
Coppolla wriggled free of Clarke at the near upright and fizzed a low delivery across the face of goal, while Hammond came closer….to dislodging a TV aerial in St Elmo Road.
Worthing’s ten men got themselves back into the game when Jalen Jones powered home a header from Pattenden’s right wing flag-kick, seconds after he’d narrowly missed the target with a header from Pattenden’s left wing dead-ball.
Substitute, Darren Budd lofted a free-kick into Colbran inside the box that was cleared and the full-back coming within a whisker of making it three-all, from twenty yards, with seconds left.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Pamment found another ex-red, in the shape of Callum Overton, unmarked and he took a touch before blasting the ball past KP at his near post.
Lewes celebrations had barely died down, when Freeman was penalised for a challenge from behind on Callum Kealy and the game had it’s second spot-kick of the afternoon.
Bizarrely, however, that didn’t appear to be enough for Buddy, as he earned booking number two for disputing goodness knows what and left his nine remaining teammates to battle on without him. (Although his first yellow had been a red, until the referee realised his mistake.)
After all the hoo-ha had dissipated, Pearce got on with the job of smashing the penalty down the middle, to give hope to Worthing but, alas, that would prove to be the final act.