The last-gasp goal secured the sixth straight victory for the Mackerel Men, who have now remained unbeaten in the league for four months. However, the victory over Carshalton was far from straightforward.
The hosts opened the scoring within the first 10 minutes. Harry Ottaway delivered a powerful cross from the right, which the Worthing defence managed to clear but only as far as Lewis White, who blasted home from 15 yards out.
After the goal, Worthing began to dominate possession of the ball in the middle of the park. However, the Mackerel Men couldn’t quite find their way through, and the hosts always looked dangerous on the break.
It only took 25 minutes for the game to become level again. After a period of concerted pressure, the Robins couldn’t manage to clear their lines and the ball fell to Fin Stevens 25 yards from goal. The 16-year-old composed himself and curled the ball into the bottom left corner, bringing the visitors level.
Carshalton went close to regaining their lead just moments later through Ola Sogbanmu, as the midfielder’s powerful header flew just over the bar following a corner.
Goalkeeper Kleton Perntreou pulled out an excellent save on 40 minutes to keep the game level. The ball had dropped to Ricky Aguiar on the edge of the box and he hit a peach of a half-volley that looked destined for the bottom left corner, by Perntreou made a fine stop to keep it out.
The half ended with a flurry of activity in the Carshalton box. Aguiar delivered a corner into a dangerous area and Aarran Racine fired straight into the gloves of Perntreou, before a game of pinball ensued and the ball was cleared off the line three or four times.
The first period ended honours even, which was a fair reflection on both sides. Worthing had dominated the ball and opened up the best of the chances, but Carshalton did not give their opposition a moment’s peace on the ball and constantly looked to attack with pace.
Goalscorer White continued to look dangerous in the second half, creating the first clear chance of the period. White picked up the ball in his own half and drove forward, dribbling past two defenders and making it all the way to the goal-line before pulling it back for Omar Koroma, who blasted well over the bar.
The hosts went very close on the hour mark, striking the woodwork from close range. The Robins had won a free kick in a dangerous area, which was whipped in to Luke Read, whose composed volley cannoned off the crossbar.
Carl Rushworth was called into action with 20 minutes to spare, making a truly excellent reaction save to keep the score level. Ernold Haxhiu delivered the ball from the left and Koroma fired a volley from 6 yards out, drawing out a brilliant stop from the Worthing keeper.
Fin Stevens had a good chance to double his tally for the afternoon, as the ball dropped to his feet 25 yards from goal, but he fired his shot inches over the bar.
Another golden opportunity fell to Koroma on the 85th minute, as Haxhiu pulled the ball back but Koroma fired over the bar from close range.
Carshalton had looked very dangerous all throughout the second half, and looked to be building up a head of steam before being dealt a killer blow late on.
It wasn’t until the 90th minute that the Mackerel Men had their chance to take the lead. The ball was launched long towards Aguiar, who took the ball under control but was clumsily bundled over by Daniel Pappoe. The referee did not hesitate to point to the spot.
Substitute Dawes, who had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes, stepped up to take the spot kick. The striker made no mistake, firing into the top left corner and sending the visiting supporters wild.
The game ended 2-1, with Dawes’ 90th minute goal securing all three points for Worthing. It was a tightly contested game, with both sides missing great opportunities to score. Worthing will feel slightly fortunate to go home with the win, but they won’t care one bit.