National League South Wed 3 May The Crucial Environmental Stadium
  • Rodari (2')
  • Own Goal (57')
  • Reynolds (9')

The 4th-placed Reds had home advantage in the Play-Off Eliminator as they welcomed 7th-placed Braintree to Woodside Road.

Adam Hinshelwood made two changes to the side that beat Hemel Hempstead on the final day of the league season. Joe Rye came in to replace Dan Bowry in defence while Ibby Akanbi returned to the Rebels’ front line in place of Mo Dabre.

The Reds got off to the perfect start after Reece Meekums capitalised on a defensive error to work the ball into the box. After Akanbi flicked it at the near post, the ball trickled across to Davide Rodari who poked into the empty net from point-blank range.

But, it didn’t take long for the Iron to answer back. Lamar Reynolds picked the ball up inside the six-yard box following a long throw before taking his shot on the turn and rolling past Harrison Male to get the visitors back on level terms.

After the frantic start, it turned into a cagey affair with the Iron set up to press high and make it difficult for the Rebels to play out from the back. The Iron posed their biggest threat from set pieces but nothing that troubled Male.

There were few chances for either side until Akanbi went close for Worthing in the 43rd minute. He cut inside onto his right foot at the corner of the box before curling an effort towards the far post which went narrowly wide.

Jack Paxman was forced off at half time with an ankle injury. He was replaced by James Beresford, filling in in midfield.

The visitors made the better start of the two teams after the interval. Male made an incredible stop to deny Zak Bradshaw from point-blank range some two minutes into the half.

Less than ten minutes later, Bradshaw turned provider as Alfie Pavey struck the post with a header.

Up the other end, the Rebels got themselves in front, and it was a moment to forget for Braintree keeper, Jack Sims who helped in Vincent’s cross from the left as he aimed to punch clear. Worthing were back in front, and the Rebels faithful were in raptures in the far corner of the ground.

Chances followed for Ollie Pearce, Beresford, and Akanbi in the next 15 minutes as the 2,678 in attendance ramped up the noise at Woodside Road.

With some ten minutes left, the Iron threatened a goal back as a scramble in the box saw Worthing put their backs to the wall, making block after block before Aaron Blair eventually hit wide.

On 87 minutes, Hinshelwood made his second change as Alex Parsons made a rare appearance as he replaced Akanbi.

A huge chance followed for the Iron soon after as the Rebels were caught out at the back. John White crossed into Pavey who completely mistimed his effort and blazed it high and wide.

Into the six additional minutes, it was the Reds who had the best chance when Pearce had his shot from the edge of the box saved onto the post by Sims.

That was that and the Rebels earned themselves a trip to Oxford this Sunday in the Play-Off Semi-Final.