National League South Tue 23 January Sussex Transport Community Stadium
  • Pearce (64')
Slough Town
  • Minhas (1')

It was the battle of ‘The Rebels’ at the Sussex Transport Community Stadium as Worthing played host to Slough Town in the National League South.

Adam Hinshelwood made three changes to the eleven that started in the away wins at both Truro and Tonbridge. With Kane Wills and Joe Rye missing, Joe Felix reverted to his full-back position and Alfie Young made his full debut after rejoining the club from Ramsgate. Finlay Chadwick and Joan Luque were the other additions to the squad, as Jake Robinson dropped to the bench.

It was a nightmare start for the Reds in the miserable conditions at Woodside Road. Goalkeeper Josh Jeffries seemed to have all the time in the world to deal with an untroubling cross in the first minute, after letting the ball bounce, he went to claim it, but the ball slipped out of his hands and onto the feet of the oncoming Nathan Minhas who tapped in.

After the dramatic start, the Reds looked to rebuild and were slowly working their way back into the contest when Pearce produced a fantastic bit of skill to gather a long ball and drive at goal in the tenth minute. His powerful low effort was tipped around the post by Slough no.1 Hugo Sobte.

The away side reminded the Reds of the goalscoring threat they posed, as chances followed for Scott Davies and Johnny Goddard. The latter rattling the post.

Chadwick tested Sobte with a fierce left-footed effort soon after, with the keeper forced to parry wide for a corner.

Danny Cashman was the next to go close for the Reds on the half-hour mark. The midfielder stepped up to take a free-kick, won in a dangerous position by Pearce, and it wasn’t far off the target as it whipped past the post.

Pearce struck the woodwork for the hosts just before the break. He got on the end of a long ball, held up by the wind, before taking the ball around the keeper and looking to roll it home but it hit the far post and bounced out and the Reds trailed going into the break.

In what was a gripping and dramatic second half; there was utter confusion amongst players and fans alike after five minutes. Pearce was sent in behind the Slough defence and took his time in unleashing his shot, so much so that the defenders got back and prevented it with Dan Bayliss the last man and bringing down the Reds’ talisman. Referee Rob Ablitt reached straight for his back pocket to give Bayliss his marching orders. Until… It was pointed out to the assistant referee that there was a flick by a Worthing player in the build-up, resulting in the red card being rescinded, and offside given against Pearce.

The away side went straight up the other end and struck the bar through Goddard whose right-footed effort had beaten Jeffries with his strike curling in the wind.

Hinshelwood made a double change on 56 minutes, replacing Luque and Reuben Livesey-Austin with Nicky Wheeler and Cameron Tutt.

Pearce, in typical Pearce fashion, got the Reds back on level terms. He was found brilliantly by Chadwick with a defence-splitting pass and the forward went one-on-one with Sobte, with his shot deflecting past the keeper to roll into the bottom left corner.

Pearce would have felt certain that he’d done enough to add to his tally some five minutes later when he nodded in towards what looked like an open goal, but for Tyrese Dyce, who sprung up out of nowhere to head off the line.

The Reds’ final change was made on 78 minutes with Robinson coming on for Klass and the forward thought he’d won it for his side just moments after coming on. Another baffling moment between the referee and his assistant followed, with the pair consulting another offside decision while Robinson wheeled away in celebration. With advice coming from all around they somehow determined that there had been a deflection that the ball took on its way to Cashman (who was Robinson’s provider) and the decision was offside once again.

Into the dying embers, Pearce was played in behind once more before tucking it away, but this time the flag was up right away despite the Worthing protests.

Joel Colbran was called into action in added time as he made two fantastic blocks to ensure his side would take at least a point from the dramatic, chaotic, sensational contest between the two ‘Rebels’.

Next up for the Reds is another home match as they welcome Torquay United to the Sussex Transport Community Stadium on Saturday.