FA Trophy Third Round Qualifying Sat 30 October Alwyns Lane
Chertsey Town
  • Golding (45')
  • Pearce (89')

Golding was restored to the starting line-up as Ty Mthunzi made his maiden appearance of the season in place of Danny Barker, who was on the bench, while Darren Budd and Pat Webber were also amongst the substitutes.

A largely uneventful opening period saw very little action of note, although the few chances there were came via the visitors.

An in-form Pearce’s free-kick forced a Rick Stewart style save out of Chertsey ‘keeper Nick Jupp, making his one hundredth appearance for the home side, after ten minutes.

The Reds striker then burst through the Town midfield before playing a slide-rule pass for Tom Chalaye to latch onto. Unfortunately, his final finish lacked sufficient power to trouble Jupp.

Another link-up between the two forwards failed to produce a similar outcome not long afterwards, as Pearce’s semi-acrobatic flick narrowly missed it’s intended recipient.

Worthing were reduced to ten men with ten to go until half-time, when the returning Mthunzi went in studs up on Mark Bitmead, right in front of the home dugout and the referee, who had no hesitation in showing him a red card.

A decision that was met with an immediate change by Manager Adam Hinshelwood, as Chalaye was sacrificed for Barker.

Regardless of their now numerical disadvantage however, the away team still managed to create opportunities; Pearce finding himself in space in the penalty area, only to lob his attempt over both Jupp and the goal behind him.

Eventually, the one decent cross of the first forty-five saw Reece Myles-Meekums, on the right, deliver deep to the other side of the eighteen yard box, where Golding broke free of the host’s defensive shackles to head powerfully home into the top corner, despite Jupp’s best efforts at keeping it out.

The second half was just five minutes old when the Curfews threatened an equaliser.

Barker got the ball stuck under his feet, allowing Bitmead to nip in and steal it but he was unable to get the better of Harrison Male, who denied him with a low, diving stop.

Improvisation almost led to Joel Colbran extending the guests’ advantage, when he tried an audacious back heel flick to a Jesse Starkey free-kick. Jupp getting down well to frustrate.

Starkey’s next set-piece provided Captain and Birthday Boy Aarran Racine with an opportunity to double the lead, just past the hour mark. Sadly, “Azza” couldn’t mark his big day with a goal, glancing Jesse’s corner the wrong side of the far post.

That proved to be the midfielder’s last contribution of the afternoon, as the experienced Budd climbed off the bench for his first appearance of the season, a quarter-of-an-hour from time.

Cherstey enjoyed large spells of possession as they chased parity and it needed a last ditch clearance by the boot of Cam Tutt, after Male had initially kept out Bitmead as he ran onto sub Mano Goganos’ through pass, to maintain Worthing’s somewhat delicate position.

There were only two minutes of the ninety remaining when Myles-Meekums robbed Mason Welch-Turned near the corner flag, with the left-back trying, unsuccessfully, to shepherd the ball out of play for a goal-kick. Meeky then embarked on a driving run virtually along the byline, before pulling back for Pearce to sweep home and settle the tie.

Or so some of us may have thought !

Four additional minutes showed up on the electronic substitutes board and that gave a home team, whose one defeat so far this campaign had come at Southend United’s Roots Hall in the FA Cup, ample opportunity to have two last bites of the FA Trophy cherry.

Replacement, Scott Day could do no more than watch on as a diving Male superbly maintained a clean sheet and the net minder did it again seconds later to deny Lewis Jackson, although the assistant referee’s raised flag indicated that that effort wouldn’t have counted anyway.

Both of those chances had been instigated by the increasingly influential Gary Abisogun, who started on the right wing but switched to the left to continue his mini reign of terror.

Deep into stoppages, an unlikely hero almost set-up a grandstand finish; central defender Daryll Harrison driving through a sea of red, only for him to showcase his defending abilities with a wayward wang.