A hattrick from talisman Ollie Pearce as well as goals from Danny Cashman and Jake Robinson secured the three points for The Rebels and moved them up to fifth within two points of today’s visitors in third.
Manager Adam Hinshelwood spoke about spending time chatting to players individually during the week to address issues around confidence and this seemed to do the trick as Worthing took the league in the 16th minute. Forward Pearce showed great pace and instinct as he flicked Joel Colbran’s long ball over Stones keeper Lucas Covolan before cooly slotting in with his left foot.
Hinshelwood also expressed concerns about his team’s inability to keep the ball out of their own net with the home side conceding the most goals in the top half of the table (34). These shortcomings seemed to appear straight after going into the lead as Colbran sliced a clearance almost into his own net with the resulting corner forcing a clearance off the line from Joe Rye.
Worthing survived this scare and managed to regain their composure before Bivesh Gurung was sent off for the visitors for a two-footed challenge on Odei Sorondo who received his marching orders from former Premier League official Constantine Hatzidakis.
Misery was then compounded on Maidstone as man-of-the-match Pearce became the league’s top scorer with his 14th league goal as he side-footed in from Colbran’s header, who notched up his second assist of the game.
Tempers flared again as ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers defender George Elokobi, now managing Maidstone, was shown a yellow card for dissent which was soon followed by The Rebels’ third goal with Pearce now turning provider as his deft touch was finished off by Cashman.
Nerves were ramped up slightly for the home support as Matt Rush got a goal back for Maidstone in the 61st minute, bundling in after some poor defending. There was confusion around the Maidstone goal as Hatzidakis went to consult the linesman, but it was judged that the goal would stand.
The nerves were soon cooled as local favourite Pearce smashed in from a corner to complete his superb treble, his eighth goal in four games. The Worthing faithful were fully in party mode by the time Robinson turned in Nicky Wheeler’s cross for their fifth goal securing an impressive victory and lifting the Rebels up into 5th.
The only negative for the Rebels was that they were unable to secure a clean sheet against ten-men opposition but it’s certainly a step in the right direction at solving their defensive issues.
Worthing will look to build on this victory as they travel to Hemel Hempstead in their next fixture on the 23rd of December.