Worthing Match Report

Saturday 5 March 2011. Ryman League, Division One South.

Worthing 1 Walton & Hersham 6.

Swans’ wins over Worthing seem to be like buses, they don’t come along very often, but when they do two come along in quick succession. Having achieved their first win over the Sussex club in eight years, it took them just another four days to do it again, this time by crushing them on their own pitch to secure their second league double of the season. Swans’ last away match at Whyteleafe had seen them register their biggest win of the season, 5-2, and they improved on that result on their visit to the south coast. With other results going their way the win takes Chuck Martini’s side up to sixth place in the table, just one point off a play-off spot. That position can be achieved if they beat the fifth-placed side Burgess Hill Town at home in their next match. Swans were dealt a double blow before the match. Firstly with the news that Phil Williams had fractured an ankle in the tackle that saw him score in stoppage-time in the home match against Worthing the previous Tuesday, and then Victor Kiri dropping out of the starting line-up after the warm-up. Bakary Bojang came in for Williams, and Ashley Quashie was promoted from the bench to replace Kiri. Swans capitalised on a bright start by taking the lead after just twelve minutes with a fine goal.

The ball was knocked down for Bojang to have a shot blocked, and when Gary Frewen got possession on the edge of the box on the right, he curled a superb, left-foot shot inside the far-post. The home defence did not look at all secure with Swans building up some neat attacks and threatening to break through on several occasions. The lead was doubled after 24 minutes when Graeme Purdy ran at the Worthing backline before slipping a neat pass to his left to find Bojang. Bojang cut back inside before sending a fine, right-foot shot dipping past home goalkeeper Tony Di Bernardo from the edge of the box. Swans were almost caught out after half an hour when an attack broke down and a long ball over the top threatened to find Worthing’s George Gaskin, who had broken clear, but keeper Gareth Williams had spotted the danger and was quickly out of his area to just get to the ball first and kick clear. The home side’s hopes of getting back into the match were dealt a blow after 32 minutes. Their striker Terry Dodd had already been cautioned minutes earlier for a show of petulance, slamming the ball into the pitch after a decision had gone against him, when he received a second yellow card.

A cross from the right had already been safely pouched by Williams when Dodd needlessly rushed in to barge the Swans’ keeper over, his indiscretion resulting in his early departure. The points looked secure for Swans with two minutes of the half remaining as they registered their third goal. The impressive Jon Munday played the ball down the right to find Bojang in space, and he laid the ball inside to Purdy, who got into the six-yard box before rounding Di Bernardo and slipping the ball inside the near-post. In the final minute of the half however the home side were handed an unexpected lifeline in somewhat bizarre circumstances. Williams had the ball in his hands and was preparing to clear from the edge of his area, only for Worthing’s Tom Lawley to continually block him off. On most occasions this would be frowned on by the referee, but Williams was forced into a hasty and ultimately poor clearance that only sent the ball as far as Gaskin only a few yards inside Swans’ half. Credit must be given to the Worthing player, who spotted the opportunity and sent the ball high into the goal over a despairing Williams, who desperately tried to get back, but just failed.

Swans suffered a further blow as the half ended, right-back Ryan Adams picking up an ankle injury, forcing him to be replaced for the second-half by 18 year old forward Lee Barney, who is on dual-registration from Maidenhead United, for whom he has played several first-team matches this season. This forced a reshuffle, with Chris Wales reverting to right-back and Barney playing wide on the right. Early in the second-half Liam Collins sent in a free-kick from deep for Munday to get in a header from the edge of the box, forcing Di Bernardo to scramble to his right and push the ball round the post. The referee had come in for some considerable stick from the home supporters, but with certain reservations over the circumstances of their goal and the harsh award of a penalty in their favour seven minutes into the second-half, Worthing cannot feel they were solely on the wrong end of any contentious decisions. Following a free-kick from wide on the left taken by Worthing’s Ryan Timms, Shaun Elliott was preparing to clear from the edge of the box when the ball bounced up and struck the underside of his arm.

Having come back from 3-1 down in their last home match to snatch a draw, Worthing must have been harbouring thoughts of doing the same again as they were awarded a penalty. Mike Huckett took the kick, but Williams dived to his left to bring off a fine save as he pushed the ball away. Worthing continued to look dangerous, sensing they could still get back into the match, and Williams just got his fingers to the ball to deflect it over when Luke Gedling struck a good shot from the edge of the box. Following the corner Lawley shot over from the left of the box. That however proved to be the end of any anticipated comeback by the home side, as just before the hour Swans restored their three goal lead. Some fine play by Frewen led to him sending Barney away down the right, and his low cross picked out Purdy, who got clear into the box before being pushed in the back by Ryan Timms. A penalty was awarded, but it could easily have been worse for the Worthing right-back, who despite being the last defender received no further punishment.

Frewen made no mistake from the spot, and with still a quarter of the game remaining Swans made it 5-1. Bojang played Purdy in on the left, and he cut the ball back across goal to the far-post to find Quashie, who slotted in his first goal for the club. Despite leaving themselves exposed at the back, Worthing still sent men forward in search of another goal, and with ten minutes left their substitute John Lansdale found space on the right to strike a good shot just over. Gaskin then sent a glancing header wide when Charlie Farmer crossed from the right, but Worthing paid the penalty by conceding another goal with eight minutes left. There was an element of good fortune about the goal however as Bojang got clear into the right of the box, but he skewed his shot across goal, and the ball just seemed to strike Quashie before deflecting back into the far corner of the goal past a helpless keeper. With two minutes left Frewen went desperately close to getting his second hat-trick in successive away matches when Swans were awarded a free-kick 35 yards out. Frewen struck the ball superbly but it dipped onto the crossbar and over.

Swans’ Team: Gareth Williams, Ryan Adams (Lee Barney 45’), Shaun Elliott (James Nicholls 62’), Chris Wales, Jon Munday, Richard Taylor, Liam Collins, Ashley Quashie, Graeme Purdy (Jean-Michel Sigere 67’), Bakary Bojang, Gary Frewen. Subs. not used: Victor Kiri, Sheikh Ceesay. Scorers: Frewen (12’ & 59’ [pen.]), Bojang (24’), Purdy (43’), Quashie (66’ & 82’). Cautions: Purdy, dissent (60’), Quashie, foul (90’).

Worthing Team: Di Bernardo, R. Timms (Lansdale 73’), Farmer, Gedling, T. Timms, Metcalf, Saunders (Smith 73’), Huckett, Dodd, Gaskin, Lawley. Subs. not used: Pulling, Charles, Peake. Scorer: Gaskin (45’). Cautions: T. Timms, foul (50’), R. Timms, foul (54’), Gaskin, did not retire (70’). Dismissal: Dodd, 2 cautions; dissent (25’), foul (32’).