St Albans’ pre-match music included a song that could justifiably be adopted as Worthing’s anthem. Hard-Fi’s 2005 hit ‘Hard To Beat’ played out over the tannoy before the game and the adage certainly rang true, with a 96th minute equaliser keeping the visitors in the FA Cup.
- Iaciofano (29')
- Georgiou (58')
- Colbran (54')
- Myles-Meekums (90')
There was just one change to the team sheet at Clarence Park, as Joe Tennent came in for Ross Edwards, while Ben Mendoza and Fin Stevens were also added to last week’s subs.
The early chances all fell to the visitors, as they looked to balance a potent attack with a more solid defence and it was the recalled Tennent that lead the way. His long ball down the right to Reece Myles-Meekums preceeced a neat interchange of passes between the winger and Joel Colbran, who slipped Lloyd Dawes in but he could only find the side netting.
Moments later, Colbran’s cross to Meekums resulted in the latter’s header across the penalty area eluding Dawes, who had held his run a tad too long.
It then became the turn of Jesse Starkey to deliver into the box and, despite a sea of bodies, it went straight into the grateful hands of Dean Snedker. A similar outcome befell Bobson Bawling when he could only find the gloves of Roco Rees, shortly afterwards.
Captain, Tom Bender beat Colbran on the left, although he overhit his cross before good hold-up play by Ollie Pearce allowed Meekums to find Dawes who pulled his effort wide of the far post.
Midfield maestro, Marvin Armstrong won possession and distributed to Meekums who was unable to find the target.
That profligacy was punished by the hosts when Joe Iaciofano hit Roco’s left-hand upright and quickly pounced on the rebound to put his side in front, approaching the half-hour mark.
Their tails suddenly up, Saints threatened again a short time later when debut-making Stevenage loanee, Andronicos Georgiou exchanged passes with Bawling but failed to trouble Rees with his final attempt.
Worthing hit back with Pearce robbing Bender and sending Meekums scurrying into the area . A goal-kick the end result again.
The National League South side went for the spectacular; as Bender did his best to volley Taylor Miles’ corner home from the edge of the ‘d’, while Bawling elected to go for the more conventional tackle and run across the top of the eighteen yard box, where he drove his effort a couple of inches too high.
Roco comfortably fielded Sol Nwabuokei’s low fizzer from distance and Georgiou cut inside both Starkey and Meekums, only to fire over before City gifted the away team a route back into the game. A poor clearance went straight to Pearce and his measured centre was headed home by a diving Colbran, for a deserved equaliser.
A revitalised Reds then forced Snedker to stick out his right leg at the expense of a corner, to deflect Dawes’s drive behind, with Meekums the architect once more.
Sixty seconds later, it was “ answers on a postcode” with a series of close-range scrambles resulting in Dawes being denied twice, as the ball somehow stayed out of the net.
However, the hosts responded by regaining the lead through Georgiou, whose low drive nestled nicely in the bottom corner after he let fly from twenty yards.
The game continued to ebb and flow, as half-time replacement, Ollie Sprague drifted in off the left flank and only just shot above the goal frame, while his namesake, Pearce, rather wastefully, hit a defender in the box.
In between those last two attempts on goal though, Reds were reduced to ten men when Tennent, already on a yellow card earned himself a second and consequently, an early bath.
Goalscorer, Iaciofano shot weakly at Rees who had to be alert to make an outstanding, low, one-handed save to keep out Bawling – who had capitalised on Danny Barker’s hesitation – as we entered the final throes of the contest.
A minimum of five additional minutes got underway with sub, Shola heading Jesse’s deep delivery into the untroubled hands of Snedker but the game had a long way to go yet (!)
In stoppage time of added time, Jalen Jones seized on an underhit pass back to Snedker and teed-up Meekums, whose initial effort was blocked by a sliding defender only for the number ten to get a second chance, which he stroked into the bottom corner; to send the travelling masses behind the far goal wild and, in turn, lead a mass evacuation of the away dugout as everyone charged towards the celebrations in the sun.
All in all, not bad for a supposed “Pub Team (!)”