It was a case of three goals, three points, job done on a fairly comfortable afternoon for Worthing at a sunny Woodside Road.
- Armstrong (17', 46')
- Kealy (87')
Injury forced Hinsh’s hand into making one change to the team that battled against the elements at Cheshunt last week; Marvin Armstong being restored to the starting eleven in place of Ollie Pearce. That left a place on the bench for Ross Edwards to return to the matchday squad after his own recovery from a foot problem.
Some fans were still changing ends when the first chance of the afternoon arrived.
Reece Myles-Meekums pounced on a misplaced pass in midfield by Jake Turner and put Lloyd Dawes through on goal but visiting ‘keeper, Charlie Turner got down well to divert the shot wide for a corner. That flag-kick quickly produced a second attempt; a floated ball in from Jesse Starkey, marginally outside the area, caught under his own crossbar by the relieved netminder.
A long drop-kick was then inadvertently flicked on by Ben Pashley to Lamell Howell, who got the better of Alfie Young, only for Joel Colbran to intervene at the expense of a corner.
Carl Rushworth was also called into action early on his home debut, when he showed good reactions to prevent Billy Hunt lifting the ball over him, after a headed assist from another debutant, Diogo Freitas-Gouveia.
Just past the quarter-hour mark, Reds edged in front. Good work by Meekums, drifting in off the right wing, left Starkey one-on-one with Turner, C until Player/Assistant Manager, Pip Boyland cleared the danger as far as Armstrong who rifled home.
Midway through the period, Starkey saw his free-kick glanced inches wide by Dawes before starting a counter-attack that led to Meekums bursting clear over the halfway line and releasing Jasper Pattenden; who was denied twice in quick succession by Captain, Matt Cripps.
A pass back towards their own goal was seized upon by Dawes, only for Cripps to thwart the forward in the box and a defensive intervention came to the away team’s rescue again, following a lung-busting run from a few yards outside his own penalty area by Starkey that almost presented Lloyd with a second attempt.
Armstrong went for the spectacular/ambitious but failed to connect with Jesse’s left flank delivery and we meandered to the break.
Those who didn’t pre-queue at The Snack Shack or bar during the interval may have missed Marvin’s second of the afternoon.
Some neat approach play resulted in Starkey’s swinging pass to Meekums, just outside the eighteen yard box, laid off to Lloydy and his delicately clipped ball into Armstrong was despatched with aplomb by the marauding midfielder.
Brightlingsea hit back via Romario Dunne on the left picking out Hunt close-in but his turn and shot found the outstretched hand of the diving Rushworth.
Dawes received a throw-in on Worthing’s left and advanced a short distance before firing over the top then Colbran and Meekums teamed up on the other side, only for Josh Gould to deny Marvin a potential hat-trick.
Danny Barker sought out Dawes again and the number seven cut in off the left but his final finish deflected behind off Armstrong.
Turner held on to Jesse’s free kick before substitute, Ricky Aguiar sent a long ball to Lloyd and he exchanged passes with Joel, though the full-back was crowded out by a combination of Howell and Josh Gould.
Aguiar gave Armstrong the opportunity to go home with the matchball, only for his attempted chip to lack power or trouble Turner.
Dawes’ drive from the ‘D’ eluded the crossbar and Rushworth had to get down low to stop Regent reclaiming a goal then immediately released Lloyd who eventually released Marvin but his effort was blocked.
The hosts nearly put the icing on the cake when Starkey’s corner wasn’t quite met at the far stick by the incoming Young and Cameron Tutt got to the byline only to offer up a simple catch to Turner.
Brightlingsea had a couple of late chances, as they forced a series of flag-kicks. Firstly, Josh Gould headed onto the roof of the net and his cousin, Jake drilled a set piece the wrong side of the upright
Finally, three minutes from the end, Reds had their third goal of the contest.
Tutt set sub Callum Kealy racing away down the left and the Aussie striker bore down on goal before applying the coup de grace over Turner.
Aguiar tried a similar thing moments later but his chipped effort from closer range was kept out by the ‘keeper and cleared to safety.