National League South Sat 20 April Sussex Transport Community Stadium
  • Dolaghan (8')
  • Spong (11')
  • Pearce (39')
  • Colbran (65')
  • Cane (4')
  • (o.g.) (22')

The Rebels were playing for a home Semi-Final in the Play-Offs as they welcomed Weston-super-Mare to the Sussex Transport Community Stadium on the final day of the National League South season. Aarran Racine’s side knew that a win would all but guarantee their home Semi-Final tie.

Racine named an unchanged XI and made only one change to the entire squad as Nicky Wheeler replaced Dylan Fage on the bench.

The match got off to the worst possible start from a Worthing point of view as Jacob Cane scored inside 4 minutes for the Seagulls. Bailey Kempster broke down the left flank for the visitors and held up play waiting for the run of Cane who finished brilliantly into the top right corner.

But, it didn’t take long for the Reds to fire back. Just five minutes later, Jack Spong delivered a low cross from the left which reached Brad Dolaghan who had his back to goal. The youngster swivelled and squeezed in at the near post for his sixth goal in his last five appearances.

The Rebels completed a quick turnaround two minutes later when Ollie Pearce did brilliantly to keep the ball alive on the byline, and in turn, delivered a cross to the far post which evaded Danny Cashman on its way to Spong who was unmarked. Spong took no prisoners with his effort as he slammed it into the roof of the net.

Cashman lifted the crowd on 20 minutes with a piece of skill that took two Weston players out of the game. Jack Wadham continued the attack before slotting in Dolaghan but his shot was tipped over the bar by Max Harris.

A calamitous own goal by Joel Colbran saw the sides back on level terms two minutes later. The Worthing captain failed to deal with a ball over the top and was running back towards his own net when he took a second bite at the cherry but poked it beyond Ollie Wright and into his own goal.

On 33 minutes, Harris made a brilliant double save to keep the sides level. Wadham made a tackle high up the pitch and the ball deflected into the feet of Dolaghan who was unmarked in the box. Harris closed the angle and made the save and the rebound fell to Pearce who took his time before shooting with his left foot, but Harris was equal to it once more.

Dolaghan was gifted another big chance moments later as Kane Wills picked up a loose ball before sending the young striker in one-on-one. Dolaghan got his shot all wrong though, and his scuffed effort went wide of the post.

It was a moment of brilliance from a dead ball situation that saw the Rebels regain the lead. Cashman took it, rolling to Spong in front of him who stopped it dead to change the angle for Pearce to run onto it and curl it superbly into the top left corner!

Chances for Pearce and Dolaghan followed before the half time whistle but neither troubled Harris in the Seagulls’ goal and the Rebels maintained a 3-2 lead into the interval for the second week running.

The sides exchanged blows early in the second half. First, Pearce was denied by another super stop from Harris, before Wright made a good save from Jamie Soule.

Wright was forced into action again on the hour mark as he produced a reflex save from a corner before Marlon Jackson’s shot went wide.

Joel Colbran made amends for his own goal on 65 minutes as he converted from a corner to extend his side’s lead. A corner from the right was whipped in but it was behind Colbran who had to improvise and managed to flick the ball behind himself off his knee and it looped over the keeper and into the back of the net!

Racine made his first and only change on 75 minutes as he swapped Dolaghan for Wheeler who made his return after a few weeks away.

Pearce very nearly doubled his tally shortly after the change but Harris yet again produced another brilliant reflex save to deny the forward.

At the other end, Kodi Lyons-Foster put his body on the line to prevent Cane from getting his second of the match with less than ten minutes to go.

News then reached the Sussex Transport Community Stadium that Chelmsford had been pegged back away at Chippenham which meant the Rebels were a goal away from a second-place finish. They huffed and puffed towards the end of the contest but couldn’t find a way through and had to settle for third.

Their third-place finish means that they will now play host to either Maidstone United or Aveley next Sunday at Woodside.