National League South Sat 28 January The Crucial Environmental Stadium
  • Own Goal (8')
  • Pearce (11')
  • Rodari (54')

Worthing welcomed the high-flying Darts to Woodside after an extra week’s rest following the postponement of their trip to Chippenham last weekend.

Adam Hinshelwood’s side came into the fixture off the back of an impressive run of form – undefeated in their last six outings, including four wins in that time.

Second-placed Dartford suffered their first league defeat since August last time out, after Hemel Hempstead took the spoils at Princes Park with a 3-1 win.

The enforced break had allowed Club captain Aaran Racine to recover from his injury and return to the starting eleven for the Dartford clash. He replaced Dan Bowry, while Josh Chambers came in for the injured Liam Vincent.

Worthing had the better of the opening stages, clicking into gear instantly as they looked to beat the Dartford press. A diagonal ball from Racine into Lewis White gave the winger an opportunity to take the lead, but his effort grazed the crossbar.

There were less than ten minutes played when the Reds did get a deserved opener. It came in fortunate circumstances, though, as Kane Wills’ low cross was deflected in at the near post by Dartford defender, Maxwell Statham.

Some two minutes later, the Rebels doubled their advantage, and what a goal it was! Ollie Pearce found the back of the net for the fourth consecutive game after spinning and unleashing an exquisite volley that brushed the underside of the crossbar on its way into the back of the net.

Josh Chambers came close to getting a third for the home side on 14 minutes, but his effort didn’t quite have enough bend on it to creep in at the far post.

The visitors’ first real chance came some ten minutes later when Harrison Male was forced into action, producing an important stop to deny Luke Coulson.

Up the other end and Chambers was denied once more, this time by a goal-saving block from Statham.

Joel Colbran was the next Rebel to try his luck, but Daniel Wilks stayed big to save from point-blank range.

The Reds continued to threaten, aiming to make their advantage unattainable. Just after the half-hour mark, Chambers was sent through on the counter-attack, but it was the post that denied him this time.

Five minutes later, Chambers was again be sent through on the break. He cut back to White whose shot was deflected wide.

The defence was called into action late in the second half as the ball fell to the feet of Malachi Napa. A last-ditch tackle from Joe Rye prevented any chance for Napa to halve the deficit before half time.

There were no signs of complacency in the second half as the pattern of play continued to fall in Worthing’s favour.

It took less than ten minutes for Davide Rodari to get the third goal. A glorious cross from Colbran found Rodari at the back post to net for the first time since re-joining the Club on loan.

Callum Kealy replaced Chambers on the 65th minute with Worthing still dominating the contest.

It was a day to forget for the Darts’ frontman, Alex Wall, who unnecessarily kicked out at Racine, off the ball, and under the referee’s nose with less than 20 minutes left. The referee wasted no time in reaching for the red card, sending Wall for an early shower.

Two minutes later, Hinshelwood made his final two changes as White and Rodari made way for Reece Meekums and Lewis Thorn. The latter of whom, making his league debut for Worthing and one of three Worthing academy graduates on the pitch at full time.

It was a super performance from the Rebels who looked in control from the off. The result extends their unbeaten run to seven matches across all competitions.

Worthing climb to fifth with the victory and their next test is a midweek away trip to Dover on Tuesday night.