Shaq Attack

Shaq Gwengwe - one of nine changes at half-time - came on to turn this latest friendly around after former favourite Chas WIlliamson had given the Wessex League visitors a shock fifty-fifth minute lead.

Worthing welcomed back Alfie Young for his first appearance since last November’s Sussex Senior Cup exit at Three Bridges, while trialist Mo Dabre featured again, off the bench alongside U18 Max Bartlett.

A quiet opening period saw both teams fail to test the respective goalkeepers until almost the midway mark, when Jasper Pattenden forced Charlie Searle into action after the ball had broken to him on the edge of the penalty area via Kyle O’Brien’s left wing cross.

Pattenden then got himself into a similar position to allow Reece Myles-Meekums to come within a whisker of putting the Reds in front; with the winger sliding in at the back post in a desperately close attempt at finishing off his teammate’s byline delivery.

Williamson, previously of both this parish and that one in Nyewood Lane, blocked bravely from Jasper before Ricky Aguiar drove narrowly wide from twenty yards.

Baffins’ own number eight, George Burgess saw his effort from an identical position deflect over the crossbar for a corner that the away side’s on trial centre-half too, headed in the same direction.

It was all change at the break, with Adam Hinshelwood electing to keep only Pattenden and Joe Rye on the pitch from those that started this relatively tight affair.

The second-half had been going for a mere ten minutes when Williamson got away down the left flank; outpacing the recently introduced Ty Mthunzi and bursting into the box, whereupon he beat the outstretched hand of the equally fresh Ben Whiting by squeezing his shot low and confidently inside the far upright. Despite the “new” goalkeeper getting a slight touch on the ball, he couldn’t keep it out.

However, the lead proved to be short lived as Gwengwe struck an equally well-hit attempt past sub goalie Bailey Neale, catching out the youngster at his near post.

A good chance went begging after Cam Tutt blazed over the target as he got on the end of another of Pattenden’s left-sided deliveries.

A turn of pace by Mo Diallo – entering the fray at the same time as Tutt – took him into the danger zone, where he tested the reflexes of Neale and won a corner.

Some penalty area pinball resulted in Ahmed Kamil-Hassan and Mthunzi having efforts blocked; the latter winning a set-piece. Unfortunately that flag-kick, along with the two that followed in quick succession, failed to further trouble the guest’s rearguard.

Six minutes from time though a neat turn and finish, accompanied by a cruel deflection, led to Gwengwe completing a personal and team double as he bagged the decisive strike.

Rovers weren’t done yet though and their trialist number five met replacement James Cowan’s corner with his dome but was unable to keep his header down.

The final say went to the host’s Max Bartlett, who had been getting his eye in without locating the back of the net. He went closest just before the end as the ball dropped kindly for him to pull a shot fractionally past the keeper’s left-hand upright.