Can the FA Cup be magic for Rebels?

WORTHING Football Club will be hoping the magic of the FA Cup can help them bounce back from a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday.

A lethargic second-half showing at Dulwich Hamlet cannot be repeated again this weekend when they travel to Ryman League Division 1 North side Thamesmead Town with £3,000 and a place in the second-qualifying round of the cup at stake.

Rebels boss Chris White was disappointed after he watched his side fail to put up much of a fight in the second period at Dulwich and is hoping their mentality will be right for Saturday’s first-qualifying round fixture.

He said: “It’s a big game in the FA Cup and important for us that we get back on track, and also important for the club financially in many ways.

“Unfortunately, we will be without Chris O’Flaherty who is unavailable, so he misses the next two games. He’s played very well so far and will be a loss, but he took a blow on his foot on Saturday, so may have been a doubt, anyway.

“Thamesmead have had some problems recently and were at the point of almost folding a couple of weeks ago. They have managed to keep everyone there, though, so, financially, it will be important to them as well.”

On the performance at Dulwich, White added: “First half, we played all right, it was just the second half which went flat. We said it was going to be tough and not to get caught out by a long ball, which we did for the first goal.

“We said we would only get a few chances, not like the Rye game, and you have to take them and we didn’t. I thought we were still in it at half-time, but then we just didn’t get going in the second half.

“I was disappointed, but also with the fact that when we made substitutions, I thought they would give us something when they came on. It didn’t get any better, though, if anything it got worse, so it backfired, unfortunately.”

Paul Kennett tested Dulwich keeper Paul Wilson early on with a header and Luke Gedling failed to get any power on his effort before Dulwich took the lead on 19 minutes. A long ball found Kevin James, who ran through to finish.

Worthing then had a spell of chances as Matt Reece fired just wide, Mike Huckett lobbed over, Scott Tipper was then denied by Wilson, before firing over. Hamlet had more of the play after the break, although Tipper poked just wide from a tight angle.

James added his second on 73 minutes when he finished a cross from the right, before Tom Lawley conceded a late penalty, which was converted by Frankie Sawyer.

If the game is drawn on Saturday, the replay will be at Woodside Road on Tuesday. If not, Rebels host Walton Casuals in the league on Tuesday.