Having twice been postponed due to the recent weather, this game finally went ahead at the third time of asking last night, having been switched to Woodside Road. Both sides came into the fixture on the back of perfunctory County Cup victories at the weekend, but this contest was much more likely to pose each group a sterner challenge.
Early exchanges were lively, Worthing drawing first blood on 3 minutes, Evan’s corner from the left was nodded back across the box, Stan reacting sharpest to poke the ball home. Both teams had come to play football, and an entertaining first half ensued – though Whitehawk created several openings, they were unable to make them count, and after twenty minutes, found themselves 3 down. On 13 minutes, Luca was unleashed down the left flank, and danced his way to the byline, pulling the ball back for Jack to nip in front of his marker and finish smartly. A few minutes later, Worthing found a way through on the other wing, Cavan’s pass from deep reaching Stan on the right. Showing great tenacity, he shrugged off the Hawks’ left back, and had the awareness to slide the ball back to the onrushing Cavan, who completed the job he started by smashing home from the edge of the box.
The sense that this wasn’t going to be Whitehawk’s night grew – having been awarded a penalty just after the half-hour mark, it was blootered against the crossbar, and then when they did claw a goal back a few minutes later, Worthing immediately restored the three goal cushion courtesy of Cavan. The Hawks were likely to have been scratching their heads at the interval scoreline, but the young Rebels had simply been that bit more composed and clinical in the final third.
The second half was not without chances for both teams – a golden opportunity for the visitors being denied by the outstretched leg of keeper Dan Gibson, and a diving header from Jack, just off-target, being perhaps the most note-worthy. The Reds sealed the deal after 83 minutes, Stan on the mark again, crashing the ball in to the delight of his teammates, and securing safe passage to the League Cup quarter-final.
This was an assured performance from the lads, they were calm and patient both in and out of possession, and looked dangerous from almost any area of the pitch. Cavan, Stan, Luca and Jack were a menace high up the field, Luke and Evan marshalled the middle, while Zac, both Bens and Harry were regularly able to both thwart the Hawks’ raids and instigate attacks for the Rebels. Also great to see big Dan back between the sticks on his return from injury, and credit must go as well to Whitehawk who played some decent stuff themselves.
Next up is Sunday’s visit of Newhaven in the County Cup Last 16, 12:15 KO at the STCS.