Saturday 5th December 2020
Coming out of Lockdown-2 many of the country returned to work this week – and Worthing 4s also picked up where they had left off 3 weeks ago with an efficient, untroubled win to remain undefeated in this campaign.
Worthing are in admirable form but Manager Edmondson is still not satisfied. “I didn’t see us linking together 5, 10, 20 crisp passes – and also our finishing today was wasteful,” he said. “We know we have to improve this, but it’s important to keep creating the chances. From a team of this quality we should be looking for perfection – and through this at least achieve excellence every week.”
SCORE: Worthing 4s – 4 (Holloway 2, McConachie 2)
Crawley 3s – 0
Cards: Ansell (G); Ansell (G)
Captain Holloway was far happier with the days’ work – scoring twice in the 0-4 rout – “We missed a few but McConachie and I both got a brace in the end – there’d have been hell toupee if we hadn’t with all the chances the midfield created for us. Once again we’ve come away and got the 3 points which means we retain that cushion between us and the chasers.”
Sanyo-Merrymaker and Ansell returned for Worthing meaning no place for Barron, and Ahmed was also rested. The young keeper Alex Hall also made a debut for the clubs’ premier team; turned in a very solid performance; and was rewarded with a clean sheet.
Opting to start with his impact players on the bench against a bottom-half of the table opposition, Edmondson nearly rued his decision as in the first minute Crawley sliced through Worthing and slapped just wide. After this scare Worthing woke up, had a long spell of control and eventually moved ahead in the twentieth minute. Before this though, Watkins had put in some of his best work of the season – finding a lot of success down the right channel in combination with Ansell and Allen. A number of chances were created and lost – at least partly due to the difficulty in controlling the ball on the new and bouncy Hazelwick astroturf.
Worthing also briefly lost playmaker Ansell to a green card as he attempted to explain the rules of hockey to the match officials. He gained a second green in the second half when they once again were unappreciative of his generous offer of free education. Worthing did not suffer from these transgressions this week – but their card count compared to the league average remains a concern.
The first goal came from a short corner at its most basic – injection, stop, strike by McConachie into right hand corner of goal. This was followed towards the end of the half by a trademark Holloway goal. A Watkins strike was saved leading to a melee on the deck – with Holloway scuffing the ball goalwards where it eventually petered over the line.
Given the relative age difference of the outfield players – Worthing’s 48 year average bettered by Crawley’s 28 years – there were worries that the away teams’ age would be exposed as the match wore on with only two goals an insufficient cushion. But the 3 week closed season had seen a dedicated fitness drive while hockey was off – and this ensured that the men in gold did not falter over the last 35 minutes.
While Crawley improved a little after the break and the half started with maroon shirts pushing a far higher line to create some pressure, they were unable to capitalize on either this territory or their 2 short corners. Most attacks were mopped up before the final killer pass – and Hall added insult to injury when inadvertently kicking away the centre-forward along with the ball. The cost was a short corner – but the benefit was a far more wary striker for the remainder of the game.
However Worthing were soon up the other end with Duncan looping in off the right and manufacturing a foul in the D. From the resulting short corner – the onrushing defence were duped by the switch right. When the ball was returned to the penalty spot McConachie netted his second – and one of the simpler goals he’ll score this season.
At this point the game became largely a battle in the middle of the park with Worthing trying to control possession and slow the game – and the home side largely running out of ideas. The icing on the cake was the final goal as the game wound down. From Worthing’s half the ball was worked long from right back up to Duncan on the wing who cut in, drew both central defenders and then unselfishly slipped the ball left to an unmarked Holloway. His second goal came from a finish more clinical than the first with a hard, early shot from the top of the D which at least bothered the backboard.
The next opponents for Worthing are Chichester at home – which means a shorter drive for the supporters who had travelled in their droves to Crawley.
Worthing 4s team : Andy Allen, Matt Ansell, Mark Duncan, Dave Edmondson, Rex Fuller, Alex Hall (GK), Simon Holloway (Capt.), Rod Horne, Stuart McConachie, Martin Northam, Ian Penny, Adrian Sanyo-Merrymaker, Neil Watkins