Worthing succumbed to defeat at Folkestone in what in the end was a comfortable victory for the home side.
- Santos (63')
- Jackson (86')
A number of players made their competitive debuts at The Buildkent Stadium; with Roco Rees donning the gloves, Marvin Armstrong and Joe Tennent at the back, Lloyd Dawes (again) and Reece Myles-Meekums (permanently) out wide, Mason Doughty in the middle and Shola Ayoola up front.
The first chance came for the visitors, on a day more akin to Hang gliding, when Captain Callum Davies’s foul on Dawes gave Jesse Starkey a sight of goal, albeit forty yards out. Despite the odds seemingly stacked against him, his set-piece only narrowly flew over the crossbar.
Our left-winger then got in a cross that Ayoola headed against the bar but the near-side assistants flag was raised at the same time.
Folkestone got in on the act when a right-sided centre fell kindly for Scott Heard and although his initial effort was blocked, the ball was recycled by Alfie Paxman for the eventual Man of the Match to be denied by Rees.
Kieron McCann’s delivery from the opposite flank was met with a lovely touch by Jerson Dos Santos for Heard again but once more, Rees held on.
Joe Colbran got in the way of Sam Hasler’s long range piledriver, Ayoola slipped at just the wrong moment and McCann nearly got played in but the ball just ran out of play, as chances continued to come and go at both ends.
A short corner routine between Starkey and Dawes ended with the latter making his way into the penalty area, only to fire the wrong side of the upright; a similar outcome that befell McCann two minutes later, when he found himself free on the left-hand side of the other box.
Shortly before the break, Colbran’s cross fractionally eluded both Dawes and Ayoola, though Starkey couldn’t quite adjust himself to direct his header on target.
The early stages of the second half featured a driving run from left to centre by Hasler, who pulled his attempt wide of the mark, followed soon afterwards by Tim Roberts standing tall to prevent Dawes giving the away team a one-nil lead.
Starkey’s corner caused consternation in the area but merely resulted, finally, in a goal-kick. However, it would be the hosts who would break the deadlock.
A long ball down the right caught out Jalen Jones and Dos Santos took up the mantle; charging forward, chopping back inside a bamboozled Tennent, then bending a shot with the outside of his right boot past a full-stretch Rees.
They almost doubled their advantage when Johan Ter Horst created room for himself a couple of yards inside the box and didn’t miss by much, when he unleashed his effort marginally over.
Reds responded through Meekums’ right-sided delivery picking out the newly-introduced Ollie Pearce, whose header lacked power and gave Roberts a comfortable catch.
Less than sixty seconds later, the substitute brushed the side netting after turning and powering an attempt towards the target.
Ayoola nearly surprised everyone, especially Roberts, when he did well to get a cross in from the left and the Invicta custodian had to be alert to keep the danger out at his near post.
Tennent showed a complete disregard for his own personal safety as he threw himself in front of Dos Santos’ rocket and Ayoola was similarly denied up the other end, once some neat interplay between he and Starkey had set up the opportunity.
Five minutes from time, however, the home side doubled their tally when Tennent’s WWE-style tactics failed to hold back replacement, Ira Jackson and the former Worthing winger, using Colbran as a shield, guided the ball past the full-back and a partially unsighted Rees, nestling it nicely in the far side of the net.
With the game about to enter stoppage time, Jackson came close to adding gloss to the scoreline but his effort went past the top corner, then two minutes into a minimum of three indicated by “The Fourth Official “, he tried again. Cutting in from the left and seeing his shot blocked by a red shirt.
A promising first half was followed by a second that saw a lack of cutting edge prove to be Worthing’s downfall, as a new-look team failed to gel (enough) and only really created one serious attempt on target after the break.
The visit of Lewes to Woodside on Tuesday now carries extra significance, as we look to get off the mark in 2019-2020.