National League South Tue 31 January Crabble Athletic Ground
  • Wills (11')
  • Pearce (26')
  • Kealy (69')

Adam Hinshelwood’s side made the trip to The Crabble to take on a Dover side sitting 15th in the league table.

Confidence was certainly high in the Worthing camp after their convincing 3-0 win against second-placed Dartford at the weekend.

Meanwhile, the hosts played out a goalless draw away at Hemel Hempstead last time out.

Hinshelwood made two changes to the side that beat the Darts on Saturday as Reece Meekums and Callum Kealy returned to the starting eleven in place of Lewis White and Danny Barker.

The encounter got off to a cagey start with both sides managing to threaten with half chances. Joshua Ajayi was sent in behind the Worthing back line which forced Harrison Male to rush out to clear the danger with a header.

Up the other end, Kane Wills’ drilled corner towards Aaran Racine was turned just wide.

Just over ten minutes in and it was Wills who rifled in the opener for the Rebels. Joel Colbran headed down a cross into the path of the on-rushing midfielder who smashed in past Stuart Nelson at the bottom right corner.

Five minutes later and the Reds were on the front foot once more. Meekums’ cross evaded everyone in the area as it went agonisingly wide of the far post.

The lively-looking Ajayi was denied by a brilliant block from young centre-back, Joe Rye, putting his body on the line just shy of 20 minutes in.

In quite a frantic period after the goal, Ollie Pearce was sent through at the other end but was denied by a fantastic one-handed stop from Nelson.

Five minutes later, the Whites’ biggest threat, Ajayi fired over from just inside the area in a crowded box.

But it was the Reds who doubled their advantage just before the half-hour mark when Colbran played a defence-splitting pass through to send Pearce in on goal, who, in his fine form, was never going to miss, and he curled past Nelson for two nil.

Despite the two-goal deficit, Dover weren’t going to give in. David Boateng’s effort from a tight angle was parried wide by Male and the resulting corner was headed off the line by Colbran.

Just before halftime, Meekums threatened to make it three. He cut inside onto his left foot before firing at the near post where Nelson pushed it wide to keep Worthing at two at the break.

Hinshelwood made his first change at the break as James Beresford replaced Rye.

Dover produced the first chance of the second half as the ball was cut back to Boateng in the box, but the forward scuffed his effort and Male gathered comfortably.

On the hour mark, George Wilkinson advanced into the area before unleashing an effort which was blocked by Reuben Livesy Austin. Massive Dover appeals for a penalty for handball were waved away by referee, Michael Robertson-Tant.

Up the other end, the Reds broke through Meekums. He held up play, waiting for help, before squaring to Davide Rodari whose effort was blocked brilliantly by the recovering Jake Goodman.

Some five minutes after, a short corner was played into Meekums whose shot was saved, but not held, by Nelson under pressure. Racine headed towards goal before it was eventually cleared off the line.

With 20 minutes to go, Meekums was sent bearing down on goal. He was brought down by Goodman who was given a red card for the challenge with Meekums one-on-one.

Kealy stepped up and fired his penalty down the middle for Worthing’s third.

With the three points in the bag, Hinshelwood replaced Pearce and Rodari with White and Ibby Akanbi.

Chances followed for Kealy, whose shot was saved, and Akanbi, who fired a volley from a Colbran cross just wide.

Looking for a consolation, substitute Alfie Pavey tested Male, forcing a superb stop, diving to his left.

Kealy was sent through at the other end and, after beating the first tackle, had a clear sight at goal. That was before Myles Judd made a fantastic last-ditch tackle to deny the forward an effort at goal.

Pavey tried his luck once more with 3 minutes of normal time left but Male palmed his right-footed effort wide.

Josh Chambers worked a chance for himself in added time, but Nelson was equal to it and the Rebels settled for a 3-0 win in Kent.

Next up for the Reds is an away trip to Tonbridge Angels on Saturday afternoon.