It is said that the mark of a good team is picking up points when not playing well. That was certainly the case at Woodside Road on Saturday, as Worthing took seventy-four minutes to break down a nine-man Cheshunt before eventually running out two-nil winners, to maintain a five point gap at the summit.
- Aguiar (74')
- Dawes (87')
After Tuesday night’s exertions against Leatherhead, it was all change again for the resumption of league action. For various reasons, Cameron Tutt, Darren Budd, and Alfie Young all watched on from the sidelines while Dylan Jelley, Lloyd Dawes, Callum Kealy and Marvin Armstrong found themselves back on the bench. Joel Colbran, Ricky Aguiar and Reece Myles-Meekums were restored to the starting line-up, with Racine, Pamment, Starkey and Pearce also in. Marshall-Miranda returned amongst the subs as Clarke and Chalaye missed out altogether.
The hosts showed their attacking intent early on when Meekums got away down the right and sent in a low cross that Jasper Pattenden tried to put in with his ‘other’ (left) foot at the back stick but prodded wide.
Reece Beckles-Richards went backwards to go forwards as he made room for a shot from distance that flew narrowly over and a free-kick picked out the unmarked Mo Camara near the rear post, though he opted to play the ball into the middle where it was cleared.
Some neat approach work by the home team led to Jesse Starkey’s deflected effort looping up in the air off his opposite number, Jamie Reynolds and safely into the hands of ‘keeper Harry Girling, before Meekums conceded possession and Beckles-Richards couldn’t keep his attempt down again.
A delightful reverse pass by Aguiar, through the inside-right channel released Meekums, only for his near post delivery to be intercepted by Sean Cronin a fraction ahead of the predatory Ollie Pearce.
The last real chance of the opening forty-five saw Taylor Miles forced to head off his own line after goalie Girling had flapped at an Aguiar flag-kick but then the midfielder blotted his copybook with a foul on Pamment, to go with his earlier one on Aguiar and received his marching orders, to leave his team down to ten with the second-half barely a minute old.
Pattenden proceeded to chase a Meekums ball into the corner, where he produced a centre that the long right leg of Camara cut out before it could get there.
Some nifty footwork on the right by Meekums saw him break into the box and carve out an opening for himself but he flashed it agonisingly past the far upright.
The host’s search for a breakthrough came even closer when another Aguiar corner resulted in former Burgess Hill man, Ibs Diallo just beating Danny Barker in the air, only to misdirect his header which flicked off the shoulder of teammate, Tanasheh Abrahams and up onto the crossbar before Camara hooked clear.
After the frame of the goal kept Worthing out at one end, the post had a similar effect on Cheshunt at the other. Substitute, Norman Wabo burst down the left wing into the penalty area, turned Aarran Racine one way, then the other and blasted an attempt that Rushworth did well to get down and parry onto the post and collect the rebound, as it went straight into his hands.
On sixty-six minutes, the Ambers were reduced to nine men when Captain, Mark Hughes went right through the back of Pearce, in front of the home dugout, to leave the referee with no other option than to dish out a second red card of the afternoon for the visitors.
Finally, inside the final quarter of the contest, a long ball by Starkey out to Colbran on the right led to the attacking full-back beating his marker, Abrahams and cutting into the box before laying the ball back to Aguiar, a tad outside it, who drove a low effort that squeezed through the hands and legs of the unfortunate Girling, to give his side the lead.
Following on from the impressive Taibi tribute – google him younger readers – it fell to Cronin to almost aid the home team in doubling their advantage, when he tried to guide a big boot by Colbran back to his beleaguered number one from the right-hand touchline. However, his backpass fell woefully short and allowed replacement, Dawes to pounce on the loose ball and drive it across the penalty area where Kieron Pamment was equally ready to react, only to be denied, not for the first time during the contest, by a sliding Camara being in the right place at the right time to avert the danger and spare his colleague’s blushes.
A bumper home crowd didn’t have much longer to wait for a second though, when Starkey played a corner on the left short to Meekums who got in a cross, despite the close attentions of sub, Joe Re and Dawes glanced his near post header over Girling and into the net, to put the lid on a hard-earned three points.
It could have been three, when Colbran’s inch-perfect pass down the right sent Dawes scampering away and he made his way to the ‘D’ before firing in a shot that Girling parried to his left and Starkey returned to the middle, where Cronin got his bearings spot on as he chested the ball back to his ‘keeper.
Starkey’s stoppage time free-kick landed on the roof of the net with the final whistle coming not long after that to signal another good but certainly not easy day at the office.