Away Day Blues at Worthing

Report by Alan Burgess
Worthing United (1) 2 v 1 (0) Godalming – Southern Combination Football League, Division One
Hello everyone and sorry: you were expecting to have Graham back, but you’ve got me again.
I’ve got to start by getting this out of the way and saying how deeply disappointed the 20 or so travelling fans were when we arrived at Worthing for Saturday’s game. A Gees team having no subs on the bench was a shock to us all, it harks back to earlier times that I know we would all rather forget.
Let me say that at step 6 I have absolutely no problem at all when our players and staff can’t make a game due to personal commitments. Harry Kane probably pays for his mate’s weddings not to clash with a Spurs game and I am told you can do wonders with timing induced births these days if you are on Premier League wages. However, the consensus at the ground was that whilst we don’t have a Harry Kane we do have a Development Team and presumably they ‘develop’ to support the first team as their primary purpose – Enough said, Rant over.
In my report of Tuesday’s match I said:
“We move on, and next up Worthing away on Saturday with three things to wish for: the return of Graham to this chair, what a star that man is, a return to the form that we know this squad can produce and a return home with 3 points in the bank.” Well, I got 1 out of 3. Unfortunately, Covid put pay to Graham’s return and we wish him and his family a swift recovery. We didn’t get the points but in my opinion the performance was much improved from the Chessington game, some good movement and build up, just a shame the final ball and finish weren’t always there.
To the game itself, a salute to the eleven who took to the pitch. In goal Alfie Mickley, centre halves Skipper Luke Beale and Danny Mills, Connor Blanchard at right back and a solid season debut for Vinnie Martin on the left. James Mariner sat in front of the defence with Ross Cheek, Rob Parrott, Rikkie Letch and Liam Avery supporting the returning Sam Boultwood up front. Not one of you spotted I missed Liam out from the Chessington line up – Liam, my apologies. Named on the bench were Jason Cotton, Jacob Stevenson and James Frudd, a pleasant surprise, back for the weekend. However, the bench was In reality empty as none of them were actually available due to a combination of Covid and other illness. The ‘sick list’ is growing – a speedy return to you all.
We started the first half brightly; almost immediately Ross Cheek was picked out at a throw in and was unlucky not to score. Rob Parrott made an important clearance which led to a first Worthing corner, but The Gees came back and starting with a long throw from Connor Blanchard won a succession of corners which ended with Rikkie Letch having a shot saved. Somewhat against the run of play Worthing scored in the 17th minute, a shot from the edge of the box into the top left corner. Other chances followed: Rikkie Letch won a corner from which Mazza headed just over, Liam Avery nodded through to Boults who had his shot saved and a Parrott/Letch combination produced another chance.
In between the action up front at the other end Luke Beale was adjudged to have brought down a Worthing forward in the box. Alfie dived magnificently to his right to keep the spot kick out. Half time then and the Gees still in it.
A word here about the Referee, who the first female ref I can remember seeing. During the interval we all agreed she had had a good game, a shame it went a bit off the rails after the restart. The start of the second half mirrored the first: three good chances in the first 15 minutes, the first by Boults who saw his effort saved by the keeper’s legs. The ball was just not running for us and Worthing scored a second when their forward picked up a ricochet as two Gees collided, leaving him a relatively easy chance to slot past Alfie Mickley. They hadn’t done much up to then. 2 minutes later a great Rikkie Letch shot hit the foot of the post – happily Sam Boultwood picked up the rebound, 2-1 with 15 minutes left.
But previously in the half Rob Parrott had caught a yellow card amid much screaming from his opponent and was as amazed as we were not long after our goal to see himself being given a second yellow when he picked himself up from a tumble-about on the floor. Mission Impossible now and 2-1 it stayed, but how we could have done with those fresh legs. A great effort from you guys out there.
Other Positives – The green shorts were back.
Let’s move on, time to look out your rattles and bobble hats ’cos it’s Up For The Cup next Saturday: Blackfield & Langley at home in the FA Vase.