Match Report: Gareth Nicholas
The match was preceded by a minute’s applause in memory of much-loved club legend, Steve Hoare.
A huge number of players and coaches, from all age groups, lined up along the far side of the pitch to pay their tribute too and the main man’s dulcet tones were relayed over the tannoy; ringing around The Crucial Environmental Stadium before the contest got underway, as his famous phrase let everyone know it was time to kick-off!
Manager Adam Hinshelwood brought Danny Barker and Pat Webber back into the starting eleven, with Dean Cox and Tom Chalaye beginning on the bench.
Both sides struggled to create chances in the opening period. Indeed, only a third minute free-kick, bent wide of Harrison Male’s left-hand post by Alfie Bendle and a twentieth minute drive towards it by Ben Cheklit – after he’d cut in off the right flank to fire goalwards on his favoured left foot – that was comfortably fielded by Red’s number one, were anything to write home about.
More than half-an-hour had elapsed before a long ball caught out the host’s defence, as Warren Mfula beat the offside trap, rounded the onrushing Male but almost ran out of room. However, he composed himself on the byline and despite the tight angle, it still required a combination of Captain Aarran Racine and the upright to eventually concede a corner.
The set-piece saw centre-half Jack Strange head against the back stick this time and get a second bite of the cherry as he stabbed towards the target, only for the Reds’s rearguard to clear their lines in the end and avoid going behind against the run of play once more.
Up the other end, Jesse Starkey’s floated flag-kick was met by Racine, although his header went wide but the woodwork and Male came to the home team’s rescue in added time, when Cheklit’s fiercely-struck, dipping volley from twenty-five yards was pushed onto the underside of the crossbar and away to safety by our fully-stretched net minder.
After the break, Casuals went straight on the attack, only for Ricardo Thompson to blaze over the top, just outside the box, via the outside of his right boot.
Worthing responded through Barker’s low driven pass leading to two Casuals defenders sliding in to prevent it reaching Reece Myles-Meekums, before the winger’s right wing delivery was flicked on by Ollie Pearce for Dayshonne Golding to dive in with his dome but fail to trouble Danny Bracken in the visitor’s goal, ninety seconds later.
Another Starkey corner led to Racine nodding the wrong side of the post, in a case of deja vu, on the hour and a long ball over the top picked out the run of Pearce who forced a good save out of Bracken, near the base of his front stick shortly afterwards
Corinthian’s spirit remained undiminished, having already got the better of the Woodsiders recently; ably demonstrated by Kieron Cadogan recycling a cross on the left and followed by Thompson’s close range effort being blocked by a posse of red shirts.
The bombardment continued, as Racine deflected Mani Mensah’s attempt over the bar at the expense of a flag-kick, after the ball had run loose to him.
Mfula then got down the left and found Thompson in the eighteen yard area; he laid back to Elliott Bolton twenty yards out and he disturbed a pigeon minding his own business in the tree behind the terrace.
A similar fate may well have seen a near-identical situation befall his fellow winged colleague but, fate smiled upon him as he’d seen what had happened moments earlier; relinquishing his position in time to avoid being twatted by Marvin Armsrong’s shot evading the goal frame, at the end of some neat approach play, culminating in Cox pulling the ball back from the byline and, ultimately, another of God’s creatures surviving.
It looked like both sides would have to settle for a point until Will Seager tried to head back across the box, only for Cheklit to prevent him from doing so illegally and Worthing were awarded a late spot-kick.
Mo Diallo, on as part of a triple change midway through the half, stepped up and confidently sent Bracken the wrong way; blasting home high and straight down the middle to send the majority of the crowd delirious.
Reds still had to see out several more minutes before the referee finally blew his whistle on an emotional day and the hosts ended the afternoon second in the early season table.