There were just the two changes to the side that earned a two-all draw at Enfield Town last Saturday, with Danny Barker and Cam Tutt taking over from a hamstrung Will Seager and Luca Cocoracchio. Pat Webber and Maxwell Bartlett filled in the remaining vacancies on the bench, alongside Luca, as Dean Cox was unavailable.
Things didn’t get off to the brightest of starts for the hosts, when a Lewes counter-attack culminated in Taylor Maloney spreading play out to Ollie Tanner on the left. He burst into the box, where he cut inside Joel Colbran and was cut down by Reece Myles-Meekums as he attempted to do the same to him. The division’s top scorer Joe Taylor calmly sent Harrsion Male the wrong way from the spot to add to his goals against us for various clubs over the years.
It got worse a few minutes later thanks to a stooping header at the far post by an unmarked Matt Weaire, on the end of Tanner’s right wing free-kick. Male getting a hand to it but unable to prevent it hitting the roof of the net.
However, shortly after that Worthing got themselves right back in the contest through Ollie Pearce. A typical run down the middle by Marvin Armstrong saw him crowded out but Michael Klass’ somewhat ambitious attempt to shepherd the ball back to his goalkeeper Lewis Carey was thwarted by Myles-Meekums, allowing the equally alert Pearce to steal in and regain possession before smashing home from close range.
Another Lewes break along the right flank resulted in Taylor latching onto Tanner’s pass but seeing Male hold onto his low, angled drive as this unpredictable affair continued to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Chances for Jesse Starkey and Pearce came to nothing and the visitors almost extended their advantage after Tanner, now on the left, fizzed in a grounded delivery to Taylor who gave Tutt the slip and needed a late intervention by Colbran to clear his effort off the line. Virtually Repeating the trick seconds later, as Jasper Pattenden could only clear as far as Razz Coleman De-Graft who fired back into the danger zone, where the troublesome Taylor was waiting to pounce.
A weaving Tom Carlse slalomed his way in off the left but Male kept him out and the scores were soon level when the Red’s number one instantly kicked down field, causing problems for Klass in his efforts to stop Pearce getting on the end of his accurate long punt. The tall centre-halves’ long legs proving to be a hindrance in this case, with his right one getting too high and connecting with Ollie’s face instead of the ball and, for the second time in the match the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Pearce duly stepped up to make it all-square.
Typically though, parity didn’t last long with Worthing completing a stunning first-half turnaround when Pattenden worked his way down the right and his low cross went all the way over to Dayshonne Golding, who took a touch and drilled into the same bottom corner that Pearce had just picked out with his penalty.
Only a late intervention denied Golding again shortly afterwards; conceding a corner as Armstrong’s attempt threatened to creep inside the far upright.
Hesitation almost cost the home team dearly but Colbran was there to mop up the momentary mess caused by Captain Racine’s rare relapse letting in Tanner, who was initially frustrated by Male.
Blinking had been a problem all afternoon, with everyone afraid to do it for fear of missing a significant piece of the action and matchsticks were under eyelids again, thanks to Pearce shooting off up the right-hand side and flashing a fierce one across the six yard area. Followed rapidly by Starkey winning the ball in midfield before teeing up Golding to blast over from distance.
After a quick lie down during the interval, the action got back underway with many still stirring their half-time cuppa. The ever-influential Golding getting to the byline and locating Pattenden the other side of the box, who went into contortionist mode to ark his body and head beyond Carey.
A theoretically shell-shocked Rooks looked anything but as they responded without haste, via Tanner slicing horribly wide from Weaire’s knockdown.
Still, barely five minutes of the second period had elapsed when Myles-Meekums worked his way into the eighteen yard area off the left wing but his low delivery evaded everybody else in it and ended up going out the other side for a throw-in.
The entertainment value increased even further with Golding’s rabona-style cross being cushioned agonisingly past the far post by the dome of Pearce.
Armstrong also came within inches of making it four, only for Carey to pull off a fine save to keep the hosts down to three. Something Male wasn’t required to do on the hour; Maloney putting air traffic control at Gatwick and, quite possibly Glasgow on red alert as his long-ranger flew over the target and out of the ground.
It should have been four-two though when Pattenden sped clear on the right and found Golding at the back stick but he somehow managed to head over the crossbar, with the goal gaping.
Unfazed, he made no mistake midway through the second forty-five by emphatically finding the top corner a yard or two out; burying substitute Mo Diallo’s assist from Starkey’s free-kick.
Despite enjoying a comfortable-looking lead on paper Lewes were, literally, handed a way back into the match through a harshly-judged handball by Colbran, as he deflected Tanner’s attempted byline cross onto his mitt. Taylor once again taking responsibility from twelve yards to skim under the luckless Male.
Squeaky bum time then took over when Racine headed clear, as far as the unmarked Tanner, at least twenty yards out. While little danger appeared imminent, that soon changed with a bounce, swivel and the belting of an absolute screamer into the top corner.
Male could, like the rest of us, only watch that rocket break the speed barrier but he certainly got two strong hands to an angled attempt by the same player, six minutes from time; parrying admirably to stop all three points going east.