National League South Sat 9 September Sussex Transport Community Stadium
  • Colbran (81')
Hemel Hempstead
  • Iaciofano (49')

It was a quiet start to proceedings in the blistering heat at the Sussex Transport Community Stadium.

Worthing created the first real chance of the match some 12 minutes in when Joe Felix and Danny Cashman linked up with a neat one-two on the edge of the Hemel box which sent Felix on a driving run into the area. The Rebels full-back couldn’t keep his curled effort on target, though, as the ball drifted wide of the far post.

The Rebels had the lion’s share of possession but hadn’t been able to trouble Craig King in the Hemel goal before the sides had their first hydration break midway through the first half. Temperatures had risen above 28 degrees on a glorious day on the South Coast.

Ricky Aguiar had the ball in the net on 37 minutes, but the assistant referee had his flag up for offside, deeming that Aguiar had jumped too early to get on the end of Ollie Pearce’s pass.

The Reds were knocking on the door towards the end of the first half. First, Cashman squared to the unmarked Pearce in the area, but as the forward lined up his shot, Josh Hill managed to get himself in the way.

On the brink of half-time, Worthing created a couple of half-chances following a corner. The loose ball first fell to Aguiar who was denied by a block, before the Reds recycled possession for Cashman to deliver a wonderful cross, only for it to evade the advancing Pearce.

It was the visitors who came out of the blocks quicker after the interval, as Myles Judd struck the crossbar with an effort from some 20 yards.

Shortly after, the Tudors did get the breakthrough as Joe Iaciofano turned in from close range.

Searching for an equaliser, the Rebels threatened twice around the hour mark. Aguiar’s shot from range deflected onto the top left corner of the woodwork, before Pearce’s volley on the swivel was parried wide by King.

Up the other end, Rocco Rees was called into action, as he made himself big to deny George Williams from close range to keep the Reds in it.

Soon after, it was a moment to forget for Hemel’s Arjanit Krasniqi who was already on a booking before he pulled back Cashman on the break. The referee gave Krasniqi his marching orders after a second yellow card and the visitors were down to 10.

Adam Hinshelwood responded with a triple change, replacing Joe Rye, Bailey Smith and Odei Sorondo with Cameron Tutt, Sonny Fish and Greg Luer.

Some 10 minutes later, the Reds found their way through the stubborn Hemel defence. Joel Colbran tried his luck from the edge of the area and found the top right corner with a fantastic strike to level things up.

Six minutes of added time were signalled and the Rebels created their best chance of a winner at the very end of those six minutes. Nicky Wheeler’s cross found its way to Pearce after a deflection, but the frontman’s volley went narrowly wide and Worthing were made to settle for a point against the 10-man visitors.

The Reds remain second in the table following the draw as they turn their attention to the FA Cup next weekend away at Eastbourne Borough.