Worthing went through to the next round of the Velocity Trophy with a win more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.
- Jelley (29')
- (43', 67')
- Pritchard (49')
- Dent (84')
Manager, Adam Hinshelwood rotated his squad for this game, with Joel Colbran, Lloyd Dawes and Jesse Starkey all watching it from the comfort of the Director’s Box. While Alfie Young, Ricky Aguiar, Reece Myles-Meekums and Callum Kealy took their places on the bench alongside Tom Chalaye. Aarran Racine started a match for the first time in almost a year and Danny Barker returned to the team after limping out of the action at Potters Bar Town on the 29th of October and his replacement that night, Fin Stevens, was in from the beginning with Darren Budd, Jasper Pattenden and, for the first time this season, Joe Clarke.
Reds made a fast start and created the first real chance of the afternoon when Carl Rushworth threw the ball out to Cameron Tutt, who played a one-two down the left with Pattenden but his pass inside to Clarke ended up the wrong side of the post from eighteen yards.
Cray then threatened at the other end, as Carl’s poor kick went straight to Jerome Federico and he found a centrally-placed Joe Rollinson; though his shot too, merely replicated Clarke’s earlier effort for the hosts.
Lee Lewis – scorer of the late, late equaliser at Hayes Lane – fired a free-kick harmlessly over, at least forty yards out, before the deadlock was finally broken just shy of the half-hour mark. Ollie Pearce’s right wing free-kick to the back stick was headed down by Racine, allowing Dylan Jelley to adjust onto his right foot and power home off the boot of visiting Skipper, Mitch Nelson.
Pearce nearly found the net himself, after Steven’s throw in front of his own dugout was held-up by Clarke and played through to him by Alex Parsons but, his neat turn and finish whizzed a fraction over the target.
Danny Barker then beat Nelson to the ball in midfield, following a lovely touch from Budd to send him clear, exchanged passes with Clarke and almost played in Pearce, only for Cray custodian, Lewis Carey to get there before him.
A corner on the left made it’s way back to Rollinson, just outside the penalty area but fortunately for the home side, he still didn’t have his shooting boots on and the end result was a goal-kick.
Two minutes before the break, Worthing had their second of the contest thanks largely to the quick thinking of Captain, Budd. He took a free-kick – awarded for a trip on him by Rollinson – which caught Cray napping as Pattenden broke clear down the left, charged into the area, sidestepped Nelson and laid a ball across towards the far upright, where Pearce got in front of Ben Mundele, although the Cray man appeared to get the final touch.
That lead lasted all of three more minutes, after the interval, as Stevens passed inside to Barker who turned, almost into Brad Pritchard, gifting possession to Federico and he cut back inside Jelley, giving Pritchard the simple task of reducing the deficit.
Provider nearly turned scorer when a loose pass in midfield by Pearce to Barker led, indirectly, to Wand’s number seven breaking clear down the right, only for him to blaze of the angle when he got into a shooting position in the box.
A throw-in near the left-hand corner flag was worked inside to Pritchard but Rushworth got down well to hold his low effort, with nearly an hour gone.
Reds responded through Pearce’s free-kick hitting the wall and Steven’s follow-up flew harlessly past the post.
Then, Nelson and Mundele converged on Parsons, to block his powerfully-struck attempt out for another flag-kick, with Budd making his way over to the opposite side to take that one too.
That second corner may have come to nothing but Budd’s next involvement did, as he lifted a return pass over the top for Clarke to latch onto and send a low delivery into the box that sub, Chalaye got his foot to before Nelson and the ball flicked in off the far upright. (Jelley picking out Clarke with a slide rule pass from marginally beyond the halfway line, to start the move off.)
Reds had the woodwork to thank when Karl Dent’s free-kick smacked against Rushworth’s right-hand post and Chalaye came within inches of heading home his second of the day, from Pattenden’s centre but couldn’t get enough purchase on his header.
A rare mistake at the back by Racine saw Dent dispossess him and run on to slot through the legs of Rushworth, to make it 3-2 with seven minutes to go.
Two substitute’s combined, to an extent, when Kealy won the ball off Geofrey Okonkwo in the ‘tea hut’ corner and played it back to Pattenden, who promptly did the same inside to Chalaye. Tom turned his marker, Pritchard and fired in a shot that flashed a fraction over the bar.
In added time, Chalaye and Kealy linked up again, after Parsons had seized on a loose ball in midfield, as the former dummied an overlapping Stevens’ pass for the latter to shoot at Carey.
Hearts were in home mouths when the Premier Division’s top scorer, Joe Taylor had two chances in quick succession. The replacement heading Dent’s delivery into the grateful hands of Rushworth and foiled by the netminder seconds later, as he dived bravely at his feet.
Finally, Pritchard’s long throw on the right came back out to U18 debutant, Chris Al Hassan; only for his twisting and turning on the edge of the area to end with an effort over the goal frame.