As preparations gather pace for Saturday’s opening National League South fixture against Dover Athletic, Tuesday night’s final friendly saw Cam Tutt, Lewis White and Mo Jammeh all return to the starting line-up. There were also ten outfield subs and more that weren’t even on the bench !
The visitors included a certain Jasper Pattenden alongside full internationals Tjay Debarr of Gibraltar and Iraq’s Ali Al-Hamadi. Emphasising just how seriously the League One promotion hopefuls were taking the game, First Team Manager Gareth Ainsworth was running his eye over proceedings from the Director’s Box.
Although he might not have been too happy with his team’s start, when play switched to James Beresford out on the left and his subsequent delivery into Kane Wills led to a defensive deflection and a one-handed tip over the top by goalkeeper Josh Blunkell, after only three minutes.
In fact Worthing dominated the early stages and soon stamped their authority on the match by going in front a further five later.
This time Wills, on the left, found Joel Colbran on the right and his short pass to Jake Robinson was sent into the penalty area, where Jammeh squeezed it inside the far post via the deftest of touches.
However, the hosts went to sleep at the back to present Wanderers with an immediate riposte within the following sixty seconds.
Harrison Male gifted possession to D’Mani Mellor but his backheel ended up in the side netting.
That proved to be nothing more than a minor blip though as Robinson chipped a cross to Ollie Pearce at the rear upright, with Ollie doing what he does best and heading his side further in front, despite the best efforts of ‘keeper Blunkell.
All this took place in the opening eleven minutes but it would be Male who was called into action next, when the impressive Jack Young forced ‘H’ to dive to his right to parry a long-range free-kick. Colbran blocking number two’s (trialist’s) follow-up behind for a flag-kick.
The Chairboys worked their way into the contest and after a weak back pass put Male under pressure, although he kept out Mellor there was nothing he could do to stop Al-Hamadi from tapping into an empty net.
Woodside’s finest soon put the disappointment behind them though thanks to a little bit of role reversal; Jammeh finding Robinson who set up Pearce in identical fashion to his earlier assist, by once again picking out Ollie at the back stick to nod in his second of the evening and the home team’s third.
Four minutes later and, appropriately, the score became four.
White taking Colbran’s inch-perfect set-piece delivery in his stride before bursting forward and calmly beating Blunkell with a calm, clinical finish.
Our trialist friend then returned to have the penultimate say of the first-half, as the Swan’s #2 fired a twenty-yarder wide of the target.
The very last murmurings came through Robinson, looking to add a goal to his pair of assists only to be denied by the hands of Blunkell.
Chances were in shorter supply after the break with the first falling to the League One leaders and it needed a late intervention by a sliding Tutt to prevent Al-Hamadi doubling his tally, following a pass into the eighteen yard box from the returning Pattenden.
Undeterred, Jasper pulled off a similar set-up barely two minutes later but an incoming De Barr could only direct his low fizzer straight into the gloves of a grateful Male at the far stick.
Changes aplenty occurred around the hour mark, Boss Adam Hinshelwood bringing the remaining nine replacements on after Reece Myles-Meekums had been introduced for Jammeh.
Rather than disrupting the flow though, two of them combined when Nodirbek Bobomurodov struck for the third game running, after latching onto Joe Rye’s long ball down the right flank, dumping Captain Jack Wakely on his derriere and coolly slotting beyond the equally well-beaten Blunkell.
Connor Parsons passed up the opportunity to pull one back by blasting the wrong side of the apparatus, near the edge of the penalty box, before the unnamed eight came even closer when a terrific driving run to the byline concluded with a dangerously-close delivery whipped right across the face of goal, merely resulting in a goal-kick.
The same player then jet-propelled himself towards the rear upright; pre-emanating an identical outcome, as he stretched in an attempt to convert another right wing Pattenden cross in the very last minute of a truly absorbing affair.
Meaning that at least one long-haired Gareth went home happy.