Ollie Pearce’s late winner gave Worthing a hard-earned win over their local rivals; to make it a very Happy Birthday for both Adam Hinshelwood and Kleton Perntreou.
New signing, Jalen Jones went straight into the team, at the expense of Sam Rents, in the only change to the side that finished Saturday’s draw at Margate. Joe Clarke recovered from illness to take his place amongst the replacements, alongside the Vice Captain.
Whitehawk were first on the attack, as Jason William’s long throw caused problems, with Connor Tighe dancing through the visitor’s backline to set up a shooting opportunity for Aaron Goode, that forced Alex Parsons to clear off the line. Although, the goal wouldn’t have stood anyway, as the assistant had his flag raised for offside.
Goalkeeper and Manager then tucked into some birthday cake and donned party hats; with the next twenty minutes akin to two Love Island contestants fighting it out over the last brain cell.
Jazz Rance had home custodian, Melvin Minter breathing a sigh of relief, after he volleyed narrowly over the crossbar from Parsons right wing delivery.
A free-kick, taken by Tighe, lead to Rance clearing the danger before The Hawk’s number eleven fired across goal and wide, on the follow-up.
Then, the substitute, on after only three minutes for the hamstrung Jesse Starkey, sent in a cross at the other end that eluded David Ajiboye and the chance was gone.
Another set-piece from Tighe signalled a penalty area scramble, that culminated in Sinn’Kaye Christie’s effort being blocked and subsequently hacked away to safety by Rance.
As half-time loomed large on the horizon, Ricky Aguiar’s flag-kick was played back to him by Jones but chipped back into the box by Ajiboye, where Joel Colbran headed the ball down to the debutant, who immediately endeared himself to Worthing supporters, by cooly side-footing home from close range.
Aguiar looked to make early inroads at the commencement of proceedings after the turnaround, as his free-kick from all of thirty yards failed to trouble Minter. While a turn and drive that started it’s route to goal slightly nearer to it’s intended target, flashed wide.
The hour mark produced the only real save of the evening, when Minter showed tremendous reactions to keep out Pearce, after he’d met Parson’s cross on the half-volley. A move that started with Ajiboye spraying a pass out to the former Whitehawk wideman.
The (East) Brighton Boys gave out a warning through Christie, when the ball rebounded unkindly for him but in the opposite way for Jones and ended up narrowly avoiding the near post.
Sixty second later,The Reds had their equaliser; replacement, Rob Deda, lived up to his Christian name by doing just that to Jones and finding Fin Walsh to his right. The Sponsors’ Man of The Match sent over an inch-perfect cross for an unmarked Jason Williams to plant a great header back over Perntreou and into the far top corner of the net.
More impact off the bench came via Ky Marsh-Brown, as he fired a matter of inches over the framework, as the hosts went for the jugular.
Instead, a Lucas Rodrigues ball into the box was cleared to an expectant Ajiboye. He turned on the afterburners and sped away from deep inside his own half, whereupon he reached the opposing penalty area and picked out Pearce, who had the simple task of rounding off a fine counter-attacking move, by applying the finishing touch.
Even then, there was still late, late drama when Christie found the side netting, at the far post, after Goode, Williams and Marsh-Brown had all seen attempts blocked by a resolute Reds defence.