National League South Mon 4 March Melbourne Stadium
  • Wadham (87')

Second played third in the National League South as the in-form Chelmsford City welcomed Worthing to Melbourne Stadium.

Chelmsford were top of the form guide coming into the contest, having won five of their last six matches, meaning it was as tough as they come for Aarran Racine in his first match in charge of the Rebels.

Racine’s first line-up as Worthing boss included a debut for new signing Jack Spong and the reintroduction of Cameron Tutt to the team, alongside Joel Colbran who returned from suspension.

Despite the lack of goals, the first half was a very watchable contest between two evenly matched teams who went toe-to-toe. Debutant Spong had the first chance just three minutes in, but his low left-footed shot from the edge of the box struck the side netting.

Less than 15 minutes into the encounter, Chelmsford had a golden chance to open the scoring, but for Joe Rye who did brilliantly in a foot race with the lively Jermaine Francis in not only winning the race, but diverting the ball away from goal with his goalkeeper Ollie Wright left stranded.

Up the other end, it was Danny Cashman with a huge chance. He was picked out by Ollie Pearce with a low cross from the right but skied his shot well over the bar which left him looking at the ground in disbelief.

Pearce was the provider once again as he slotted in Joe Felix down the byline on the half-hour mark. Felix poked it toward goal but Henry Gray made a comfortable save with his feet.

The Clarets had another big opening moments before the break as George Alexander was played in behind the Worthing back line. Wright did well in rushing out to meet him before making the save to ensure it was goalless into the break.

The match followed a similar trend into the second half. Pearce had a massive chance in the early moments from Felix’s cross but he couldn’t direct his effort goalwards.

Just before the hour mark, Greg Luer provided Cashman with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock but the midfielder couldn’t find the target. Luer was then replaced alongside Tutt by Jake Robinson and Dylan Fage.

The latter was immediately into the action, drilling in a low cross which found its way to the edge of the box where Felix was waiting to strike, but it rose over the bar.

Then came the home side’s best chance of the evening. Francis struck a sweet volley towards the bottom left corner but Wright somehow kept it at bay with a remarkable diving save, low to his right.

Racine made his final change on 73 minutes, replacing debutant Spong with Kane Wills in midfield.

Francis very nearly produced a bit of brilliance with ten minutes to go as he struck a curling effort towards the top left corner from the edge of the area, but it had just too much height on it as it went over.

In such a close contest with so many big chances missed it was only right for the decisive moment to be one of pure inspiration – up step, Jack Wadham. From thirty yards out, following a corner the ball sat up perfectly for a sweet volley. With cries of, “shoot” coming from the Worthing supporters waiting in anticipation behind the goal, Wadham obliged as he rifled it into the top left corner!

With backs to the wall in defence following the wonder strike, the home side almost salvaged a point as Luke Jenkins’ header agonisingly struck the post in added time, but the Rebels held on for a winning start under the interim management team.

Next up for the Rebels is a return home as they welcome Taunton Town to the Sussex Transport Community Stadium on Saturday.