Worthing slipped quietly out of the Velocity Trophy at the quarter-final stage, with ex-player Zack Newton starting the comeback, as Cheshunt cruised into the semis.
- Chalaye (36')
- Beckles-Richards (64')
- Kassarate (77')
- Nzala (87')
After Saturday had finally seen the end of Red’s long unbeaten run, Manager Adam Hinshelwood once again rang the changes for this last eight tie. In came Club Captain, Darren Budd, Dylan Jelley, Lloyd Dawes, Joe Clarke, Tom Chalaye, Jasper Pattenden and Marvin Armstrong. While Reece Myles-Meekums, Ricky Aguiar and Fin Stevens dropped to the bench where they were joined by Ollie Pearce and Tyrese Mthunzi.
The game nearly had it’s opening goal inside the first few seconds, when Budd played a right wing corner short to Danny Barker and, upon receiving the return pass, played the ball back into the danger zone. Following a brief spell of penalty box pinball, Armstrong had his initial effort blocked before Clarke forced Amber’s custodian, Harry Girling to turn his low shot around the far post for a second but, ultimately fruitless flag-kick.
In their change strip of all blue, the visitors threatened a few minutes later, via a run down the right by Amadou Kassarate that resulted in his low delivery going all the way across the penalty area and out the other side.
Taylor Miles’ free-kick caused some concern when Jelley only succeeded in heading it straight up in the air, Carl Rushworth came out to collect but couldn’t and Armstrong eventually cleared the decks.
Cheshunt continued to take the game to their high-flying hosts when good link-up play going past the dugouts led to the ball being worked into a centrally-placed Miles, who tried to curl it past Carl from around twenty yards, only to find the goalie’s gloves instead.
Shortly afterwards Budd, under pressure from Miles, gifted possession to former Woodside favourite, Newton who charged forward but wasn’t able to beat Rushworth from the edge of the box as the netminder flicked his effort, one-handed around the upright.
A startled home team finally woke up with Pattenden sending an inch-perfect pass through the inside-left channel for Dawes to latch onto and gallop into the area. He then dragged the ball back onto his right foot to leave Taylor McKenzie floundering, only to fire his shot over the target.
Ten minutes before the break and Worthing had their noses in front. Dawes jinked his way into the area, past Jamie Reynolds and McKenzie before laying the ball off to his left where Chalaye was waiting to drill a low effort inside the opposite upright.
That strike came moments after Pattenden had dispossessed Newton on the byline and was soon followed by Reece Beckles-Richards blazing a good opportunity over the bar, when well placed.
Chalaye almost had a hand in doubling the advantage when his touch released Armstrong through the middle and the midfielder bamboozled Skipper, Sean Cronin and poked the ball past the protruding leg of Ola Williams to Dawes, who this time worked an opening onto his left foot, leaving Reynolds flummoxed; drawing a top class save out of a stretching Girling, who tipped the effort away from the top corner of his net and over for a set-piece.
Ambers upped the ante at the start of the second-half with Reynolds robbing Budd near the centre circle and supplying Mo Camara, whose curved dink to Beckles-Richards on the left saw Rushworth deny the striker’s driven attempt with his feet at the near post.
A two-nil reverse at The (now) Crucial Environmental Stadium a fortnight ago seemed a distant memory, as the men of Herts continued on the offensive.
Dylan Jelley was barged off the ball by Camara who, subsequently, put Beckles-Richards in the clear but as his fellow forward attempted to fire through the legs of Rushworth, he was thwarted by the England U-19 international, with Barker and an eventually fouled Pattenden mopping up.
An equaliser was looking increasingly likely and the visitors were soon bearing down on goal again, as Newton outmuscled Armstrong to get on the end of a huge Girling drop-kick and, although he overhit his pass to Beckles-Richards, the number ten was able to retrieve the situation by returning a low centre into his teammate which Rushworth got down well to parry.
The danger wasn’t over there though, with Barker’s attempted clearance rebounding off Camara which Alfie Young had to head away from a gaping net, before Clarke completed the clearance.
Or so some of us thought ! For immediately, from the resulting throw-in, Williams took it and released Reynolds along the left wing. He found Camara in the box, where a one-two between him and strike partner Beckles-Richards concluded with a scissor-volley by the giant nine, unfortunately for him, spanked straight at a rather relieved Rushworth.
The warning signs were clearly there but Worthing didn’t help their own cause when overplaying at the back led to Jelley losing possession just outside the penalty area, to a combination of Reynolds and Beckles-Richards, leaving the latter to run on and finish across Rushworth.
Miles helped put the seal on a deserved victory when his corner was headed home, unmarked by Senegal U20 player, Kassarate; who could have made it three when a half-cleared corner was driven back in by Cronin, blocked by a huddle of red shirts and headed on by Reynolds, only for the well-travelled twenty-four year old to lash over the top.
Further sloppiness, after Meekums conceded possession cheaply to Giuseppe Re with Kassarate right behind Reece for company, saw both Camara and sub Ashley Nzala have a go before Cheshunt’s third of the night was finally buried by Nzala from close range.
Pearce climbed off the bench to hammer a shot behind in time added on but, in truth, Reds were well beaten by the better side by that stage.