Worthing Take It To The Max

A four-goal salvo from Max Bartlett helped lead the under-18s to an emphatic 8-2 win at Horsham YMCA in the FA Youth Cup.

Match Report: Gareth Nicholas

It could have all been very different though, when the hosts went in front after only three minutes. A stunning free-kick curled it’s way past the best efforts of goalkeeper, Adam Nash and right into the top corner, more than twenty yards out, via the deadly-accurate left foot of Frankie Mills.

Unfortunately for YM, it didn’t last long and the Reds (wearing blue) were soon back on level terms. A failure to clear their lines proved costly and Alfie Hall was there to stab home from close range.

Bartlett tested Monty Watson-Price shortly after that before stroking in Kyle O’Brien’s low left-wing delivery to equalise, on the quarter-hour mark.

The tall number ten was making Watson-Price work again, by stinging his palms from the edge of the penalty area; forcing the ‘keeper into an impressive one-handed save at the expense of a corner. Bartlett sent it in but the late-arriving Joe Rye couldn’t quite keep his header down.

Wing-back, O’Brien was released on the left flank by a long, measured Hall ball and made it all the way to the byline, though the side netting denied him.

Switching sides, Hall then sent Ollie Starkey clear on the right with a peach of a pass that resulted in Starkey laying a chance on a plate, that Reuben Austin gratefully gobbled up.

Two became three, a little over ten minutes later, when O’Brien’s inside pass to Hall allowed the striker to burst to the byline and present Bartlett with a pull-back, that he fired in to extend the visitor’s advantage.

Twisting and turning in the eighteen yard box by Starkey led to Watson-Price having to push behind for a flag-kick at his near post, as Worthing continued to lay siege to the White’s goal.

Ollie nearly had an assist to his name when he picked out Owen Worsdell, only for his teammate’s attempt to clip the top of the crossbar.

There was still time, however, for the guests to squeeze in one more before the break and, specifically, for Bartlett to complete his hat-trick.

In a move started through an excellent midfield tackle by Lewis Thorn, an exchange of passes between him and Bartlett saw the latter place his effort across Watson-Price and narrowly inside the custodian’s far upright.

After almost an hour of the contest, Worsdell tried his luck from distance but ended up frustrated again, thanks this time to the reflexes of Watson-Price, as he could only watch the ball land on top of the net.

The first change of the evening brought Rocco Gamblin off the bench in place of Starkey and it didn’t take long for him to get his eye in.

A well-struck shot fizzed towards Watson-Price, who fielded comfortably; although preceding YMCA pulling a goal back, with another goal of the season contender.

Alfie Maguire, on the right. appeared to have nowhere to go, before turning sharply and bending a beauty over a stranded Nash, who despite his best efforts, couldn’t prevent the ball nestling in the far top corner.

Once more though, Blues responded the only way they know how.

The rocket that is O’Brien showed a clean pair of heels to his marker and Gamblin did well to hook his delivery, from slightly behind him, into the onion bag.

Super sub soon doubled his tally for the night, when the speed of light slipped in Bartlett to hit the post but Gamblin was ideally placed to slot in the rebound.

Goalscorer almost became goal provider, only for a perfectly-timed tackle in the box by Cam Joste to prolong the agony of Worsdell’s barren spell.

Finally, with eighty-seven showing on the metaphorical clock, the gentleman regularly referred to as “Chopper” – Fin Chadwick, after also coming on as a replacement – played a slide-rule pass for Bartlett to tuck home a personal fourth, a team eighth and seal a safe passage through to the second qualifying round of this season’s competition.