A first-half hat-trick from Jasper Pattenden and a late treble from the returning Lloyd Dawes saw Worthing make an emphatic start to pre-season at The Bunn Leisure Stadium.
- Pattenden (10', 21', 31')
- Starkey (12')
- Dawes (75', 85', 89')
- Goldsmith (77')
Four players made their debuts in the opening forty-five minutes, namely new signings, Joe Tennent and Ben Mendoza, alongside trialist, Cameron Tutt and marking his third spell at the club, Reece Myles-Meekums.
It was last season’s loanee who created the first chance of the afternoon, when he cut in from the left wing and aimed low but not hard (enough) at the Selsey ‘keeper.
Two minutes later and the back of the net was bulging, though unfortunately it was that of Aaron Relf’s, as Danny Barker sold him short with a backpass and Lindon Miller – who’s been training with us again in the close season – had the simple task of putting his side a goal to the good.
That advantage was short-lived however, thanks to the industry and trickery of Meekums who combined with Jesse Starkey to set up a shooting opportunity for the ex-Gillingham man that was saved but then returned with some interest by Pattenden, via the underside of the crossbar.
Barely sixty seconds after that, Mendoza tried his luck with the outside of his right boot, only to see his effort lack the bend on it to land the right side of the far post. This coming after the increasingly influential Meekums had worked well with Callum Kealy who was subsequently denied by the host’s custodian.
A third Worthing goal came from Starkey on ten minutes, despite the best efforts of a home defender on the line, which he took well once he’d rounded the grounded Selsey netminder.
Kealy, a goalscorer in this fixture last year, couldn’t quite get enough purchase on a right-sided cross from Meekums before, up the other end, Relf was drawn into his first save of the afternoon from a blue shirt.
Pattenden then took it upon himself to slalom his way through a host of home players and increase the visitor’s lead with his second of the afternoon, finding the top corner in the process.
He was less successful from a deep Meekums cross moments later but shortly before the half-hour mark, he had a hat-trick. The same pairing linked up once more to allow him to meet a low delivery with precision timing place into the bottom corner.
More Meekums twisting and turning forced the Selsey number one into preventative action until Kealy beat his Blues teammate and Captain but also the crossbar.
Half-time didn’t come soon enough the beleagured Blues a respite, as Darren Budd only stayed off the scoresheet thanks to the reactions of the man between the sticks again, with yet another Meekums cross causing the home defence problems. This had all come about thanks to a perfectly threaded through ball by Barker which lead to Kealy being kept out at the near post by a combination of said upright and it’s gloved companion.
It was all change at the break, as Worthing emerged from the dressing rooms with an entirely new eleven that saw Academy goalie, Toby Lydon-Gardiner make his Senior debut with U18’s graduate, Daz Goldsmith, trialist Marvin Armstrong, new boy Mason Doughty and the ever-popular, Lloyd Dawes, back for a third spell, too.
The opening exchanges were somewhat quieter than the first-half, with Ricky Aguiar having the neighbouring cricket club look nervously skywards before his miscued attempt nestled by the corner flag.
Ollie Pearce appeared to be auditioning for the role of contortionist in a travelling Circus when he did his best to meet Dawe’s deep delivery with an on-target header but, alas, he marginally failed to do so.
Lydon-Gardiner had his hands warmed-up by a shot from distance, as one of many home attacks resulted in a rare end product, while Dawes gave Armstrong a go but his effort lacked the power to unduly trouble Selsey’s‘keeper.
Aguiar almost broke the second-half deadlock with a header that hit the crossbar, after the ball had been tipped onto it, then took the resulting corner, which narrowly avoided a repeat scenario from the matching anatomical part of new Captain, Ross Edwards.
Lloyd flashed a half-chance across the face of goal, after being located by Doughty’s back-stick delivery from the right flank and Pearce saw his close-range drive beaten away at the near post, by the host’s substitute custodian.
With a touch under a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Worthing finally found a fifth goal as Goldsmith finished confidently to score his first goal for the front side and Dawes soon made it six, by leaving the goalie on his posterior and nonchalantly dinking it over him, for his second of the afternoon.
Ten minutes from time, the impressive Armstrong forced an equally impressive save and despite a textbook downward header by Jalen Jones, the bounce was just too high.
The last knockings were dominated by the irrepressible Dawes, as he first sold the netminder a beautiful dummy before tapping home, then tested him with a low daisy-cutter that proved to be less problematic.
Finally, he fired a twenty-yarder fractionally over the bar before la piece de la resistance arrived in the form of perfectly timed run onto a long ball forward, that saw him burst between two defenders and fire home for a match-clinching treble.