Manager Edmondson summed it up best when he said this game was decided from the fifth minute. Worthing were too hungry, too strong and too ruthless to be denied. While Chichester may feel the score line does not fairly reflect their chances, it was a demolition – and for Edmondson an opportunity to bask in the comfort of a comprehensive home win instead of complaining about his team’s lack of bite. “Another win – that’s 6 wins, 2 draws, no losses. Sure, we’re blessed with talent in this squad but talent only wins you games – teamwork and intelligence win you league titles and that’s our focus now.”
SCORE: Worthing 5 (Holloway 3, Ahmed 2)
Old and new clicked wonderfully with decisive contributions from the old-timers, goals shared between Holloway and Ahmed helping Worthing tighten their grip on the league, while the kids shone as well – no more so than Hall in goal who will feel unlucky to be denied a consecutive clean sheet. It was one of those days when everything fell perfectly into place for Worthing despite missing a number of key players.
As for Chichester, the loss leaves them just above the relegation zone – but they have a young side and will be hoping to ensure their continued presence in the division if they can take points from the 2 games they have in hand in this stop-start season. “We had our chances but at the end of the day we couldn’t match the quality that Worthing have put together in this side. They haven’t lost all season and average 4 goals a match – we knew it would be a big ask especially away from home but I’m happy the team kept fighting to the end.”
Having taken a squad with 450 years of combined hockey-playing experience to Crawley last week, this week the 4s welcomed two new under-20s into the team, Dan Thornton and Owen Suggett, to support the experienced Watkins and Ansell across the midfield and showcasing Worthing’s ability to identify and bring on young talent without recourse to the transfer market.
The opener in the 5th minute was a goal of the highest class. Edmondson from the right drew the Chi defence and squared the ball to Ansell who sent a searching ball forward to meet Holloway’s arcing run – the ball delivered onto his stick and culminating with a first-time shot past a keeper still glued to his line.
The second came from some magic from ex-Bangladeshi international Ahmed – as so often advancing down the left with his mazy run leaving Chichester defenders sprawling in his wake. His final ball evaded the keepers’ left kicker and met with Holloway’s outstretched stick for a trademark 1-yard deflection into the bottom right corner.
It would not be true to characterise the half as one-way traffic – as Chichester were finding a lot of joy in overlaps down their right flank. Sanyo-Merrymaker frequently found himself swamped when Suggett pushed forward too aggressively in a search for a third and failed to track back to shore up the left side of the pitch. Such mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom, and as the youngsters mature into this experienced team they will find themselves increasingly under-pressure to conform with Edmondson’s system.
Chi’s best chance of the half came from a penalty corner forced from one of these forays. Hall, who had enjoyed a quieter first half than he would the second, saved from the first strike. Chi were quickest to the rebound but the follow-up flick lacked power and post-man Horne was able to calmly hook the ball away from the goalline and ensure Worthing entered the break two-to-the-good.
In the second-half, gaps were opening up which were creating opportunities for both sides. Allen, playing at right-back, was increasingly brought into the game as an attacking option for Worthing as the men in green searched for a way back into the tie and over-committed forward. Worthing’s third was another tap-in from Holloway, and the fourth a cut back by Edmondson for Ahmed to get into the score book.
In between this steady march to victory, Chi were twice denied almost certain goals by Hall whose awareness to situations and speed off his line rob opposition forwards of both angles and time. With McConachie directing the defence and Hall in this sort of form Worthing were able to hang on at the back despite the pressure – and were proving more efficient in converting their chances when they came.
As with the final goals against EG and Crawley – Worthing’s 5th goal was a slick and quick move starting from deep. Chi were turned over on the edge of the Worthing D, a couple of quick short passes moved the ball out of the danger zone and then the long ball picked out Holloway in space on the half way line. Initially unsupported – he drove goalwards and with the defence committed to him, switched the ball square-left to meet with Ahmed’s supporting run. Ahmed made no mistake to take his second of the match and 7th of the season
Despite their lack-of-luck there was continuing determination to keep going from Chi, and the visitors managed to deny Worthing a clean sheet. With 5 minutes left on the clock Worthing lost the ball mounting another attack from deep and Chichester swarmed forward. Hall saved the shot but the ball tangled up in his kickers and with Worthing overwhelmed in defence the decisive final touch was from Chi who at least got some reward from the game.
Once again Worthing enjoyed solid home support from the socially distance crowds on the balcony – grateful for the demonstration which was well worth the price of admission. Worthing’s next conquest will be away at Hastings and – with South Saxons first team having no match on the 19th – they can expect a more robust opposition than the one that greeted the Normans there.
Worthing 4s team : Ramiz Ahmed, Andy Allen, Matt Ansell, Dave Edmondson, Alex Hall (GK), Simon Holloway (Capt.), Rod Horne, Stuart McConachie, Ian Penny, Adrian Sanyo-Merrymaker, Owen Suggett, Dan Thornton, Neil Watkins