National League South Sat 9 December Sussex Transport Community Stadium
  • Wills (22')
  • Pearce (28', 40')
  • Aguiar (67')
St Albans City
  • Rasulo (5')
  • Jeffers (10')
  • Hoddle (63')
  • Akanbi (89')

The Rebels came into the fixture looking to return to winning ways after disappointment in midweek at Weston-super-Mare. Their opponents, St Albans City, had lost six of their last seven before today’s fixture, but their single win in that run came against high-flying Maidstone United.

Adam Hinshelwood suggested he would shake things up when speaking after the defeat on Tuesday and he duly delivered on that promise. Kane Wills and Nicky Wheeler returned to Hinshelwood’s starting eleven, while young midfielder Finlay Chadwick made his first start of the season for the Rebels having been on dual registration terms at Littlehampton Town.

It was a nightmare start for the Rebels who found themselves two goals down after ten minutes. Gio Rasulo opened the scoring five minutes in after capitalising on a mistake at the back. Glen Rea sold Roco Rees short with a back-pass and the keeper’s attempted clearance went straight to Rasulo who tucked away the Saints’ opener.

Moments later it was two after a magnificent strike from Saints forward Shaun Jeffers whose shot from some 25 yards dipped into the top left corner.

Worthing worked their way back into the contest and chances for Chadwick and Glen Rea followed but neither really troubled Josh McNamara in the St Albans net. One that did, though, was Kane Wills’ strike that found its way into the bottom right corner. Ollie Pearce crossed into Wills, who took a touch before tucking it away to set the Rebels on their way to a first-half turnaround.

Soon after, the Rebels were back level after Chadwick looped a ball over the St Albans defence. Sam Brown attempted to head back to his keeper, but couldn’t get enough on it to beat Pearce who latched onto it to roll it into the bottom left corner.

Pearce and Felix further tested the Saints’ keeper before the Rebels got themselves in front. Joel Colbran floated a ball into Pearce on the right of the area. He had a couple of opportunities to play it inside to Chadwick but opted against it, going alone and then shooting back across his body and into the bottom right corner to complete a remarkable first-half comeback!

It was a far quieter start to proceedings in the second half, with neither side creating any real openings in the first quarter of an hour. But, when the first chance of the half came, it inevitably brought a goal and it was the equaliser for the Saints. Joe Rye seemed to have dealt with the danger but came together with his teammate Wills to gift possession to George Hoddle who made the most of the opportunity, finishing past Rees.

It didn’t take Worthing long to get back in front in the goal-frenzy contest. Colbran took a quick throw in on the right-hand side into Pearce who nodded on to Ricky Aguiar who made no mistake in firing into the bottom right corner.

Hinshelwood made a change on 74 minutes, replacing Chadwick with Greg Luer, and, ten minutes later, Joan Luque came on for Wheeler with the Rebels looking likely to hold on for the victory.

But, former Rebel Ibby Akanbi came back to haunt his former side right at the death. The Reds were caught out by a long ball over the top and Akanbi had all the time in the world to take it down and tuck it away to level things up once more.

The Reds threatened twice more in added time but to no avail. First, Colbran’s header from Aguiar’s corner went just over. Then, the golden chance to win it, as the Rebels broke away down the left after Pearce was played in by Luque. He opted to square this time but put too much on it, leaving late substitute Danny Cashman with a lot to do. By the time he controlled it, the Saints defenders had recovered and Cashman dragged his shot wide under pressure.

Another four conceded for the Rebels, which ultimately is the reason they don’t sit higher in the table at this moment in time. It’s the sixth time this season that they have conceded four in league fixtures.

Despite the late disappointment, the one point they gained has helped them climb one place in the standings to 6th as they look ahead to another home fixture next weekend against Maidstone United.