Worthing played their first game in eleven days at the weekend when they beat Weymouth 4-2 in the FA Trophy Second Round at Woodside. While Tonbridge Angels were beaten 4-2 in the same competition by Bracknell Town.
Just three league positions separated the sides before the contest, with Worthing in 7th on 29 points after 17 games and Tonbridge Angels in 10th on 26 having played one fixture more.
Adam Hinshelwood’s squad was boosted with two returning players, James Beresford and Javaun Splatt. Beresford returned to the starting eleven alongside Luca Cocoracchio and Lewis White, replacing Joe Rye, Ollie Pearce, and Reuben Livesy Austin from Saturday’s line-up. Rye dropped to the bench while Pearce and Livesy Austin both missed out through illness.
Worthing took complete control of the opening stages of the contest and were rewarded in the 3rd minute when Joel Colbran crossed from the right towards the far post where Beresford was there to head home and give the home side an early lead.
Despite controlling plenty of the ball, the Reds were caught out on the break in the 14th minute when former Rebel, Dajon Golding cut inside from the right and had to be brought down by Beresford on the edge of the area. With the free-kick in a dangerous position, Devonte Arnasibia stepped up, his effort took a huge deflection off the wall which rooted Harrison Male to the spot and brought the visitors level.
Just two minutes later, Josh Chambers would cause problems at the other end. He dribbled into the penalty area before he was brought down by Scott Wagstaffe and the referee pointed to the spot. Callum Kealy stepped up, fresh off his goal at the weekend, and fired a rocket past Jonathan Healy to give the Reds the lead once more.
Then in the 23rd minute, pure inspiration from Chambers! His dancing feet caused problems for the Angels’ defence as he was brought down again, some 25 yards out. He stepped up to take the free-kick himself and hit it sweetly as it sailed into the top left corner to give the Rebels an all-important two-goal advantage.
Golding threatened to haunt his former side for a second time this season but saw his effort saved by Male at the near post on the half-hour mark.
Chambers and his dancing feet would continue to cause all sorts of problems for the Angels’ defence, dribbling to the byline and cutting back to Meekums in the 36th minute, but stretching to reach it, Meekums couldn’t keep his effort on target.
Meekums would cross from the byline himself on the brink of half-time, finding White free at the back post but his effort was somehow blocked by Jamie Fielding and deflected wide for a corner and that would bring us to the interval.
It was a quiet start to the second half for both sides. It took some ten minutes before the first real chance fell to Kealy after White laid the ball inside to him in the area. The striker took a touch to control it before hitting it with his left foot narrowly past the post.
In the 63rd minute, Arnasibia floated a deep free-kick in towards Jordan Greenidge but the striker’s header would narrowly evade the advancing Golding who couldn’t prod it home.
From the goal-kick came a brilliant Worthing move from defence to attack. Kane Wills was sent through on the right before he crossed to the back post where White met it, but fired his effort wide.
Hinshelwood would turn to his bench for fresh legs in the 67th minute, replacing Kealy and Meekums for Ibby Akanbi and Moe Shubbar.
Two minutes after, Golding would threaten once more as he was sent through on the right but Beresford and Cocoracchio would work back brilliantly to close the angle before his shot was saved at the near post by Male.
Hinshelwood would make his final change in the 84th minute when he replaced White with Sammie McLeod.
One minute later, Mo Dabre would win the ball back for the Reds before playing through Akanbi. The striker would take it into the area before blazing his effort over.
Tonbridge would threaten late on. First, Tariq Hinds’ effort was tipped onto the bar by Male before going out for a corner.
From the corner, Male was forced into action once more. This time tipping around the post to prevent an own goal off the head of Aarran Racine.
From the second corner, Tonbridge would get their reward. The ball would find its way to Arnasibia at the back of the crowded box before he fired his effort at goal where it would be blocked on the line by Wills. It would fall straight at the feet of Greenidge, though, who converted for Angels.
It would prove to be no more than a consolation goal for the visitors, as Worthing would hold out for their third consecutive victory.
Next up for the Rebels is another home fixture against Chelmsford City.