A BUSY week at Worthing Football Club has seen both highs and lows – two victories makes good reading as does two new signings, one of which, however, has come after a major injury blow.
Rebels boss Chris White confirmed he’d brought fans’ favourite Paul Kennett back to Woodside Road for a third spell at the club on Monday (September 26) afternoon, and the midfielder came on just 25 minutes into their 1-0 win at Walton & Hersham on Tuesday (September 27) night.
He was the second Rebels signing of the week, as White had to move quickly to sign former Dover and Lewes goalkeeper Dean Ruddy, after Alan Mansfield injured his ankle ligaments in their 2-0 victory over Ramsgate on Saturday.
Mansfield’s injury has come as a huge blow to the side, but has been a little overshadowed by the return of Kennett, who quit the club for Premier Division side Horsham in 2010 after a second consecutive play-off defeat.
White had played a waiting game all summer until Kennett became available due to work commitments, but insisted the midfielder was only ever coming to one club this year – describing his to the Herald a few weeks ago as “the final part of the puzzle”.
White said: “I am thrilled to bits as I know his qualities and I know what he can bring to the side, we had to be patient due to work commitments, but it’s excellent for us.
“Worthing was the only place he was ever going to come and I did have a chuckle to myself listening to all the rumours.
“We know what Paul is good at, he’s a leader and a very good footballer.”
On Mansfield’s injury, White added: “It’s really disappointing for him and for us.
“The plus side is it isn’t broke and just the ligaments.
“Ordinarily, he would be out for eight weeks, but he is going to work with our physio three times a week so that should cut it down a bit.
“He has told me he’ll be fit in three, but we’ll have to see how that goes.”
Amongst the signing and injury foray, Rebels have narrowed the gap at the top of the Ryman League Division 1 South table with two wins this week.
With Bognor pegging back leaders Dulwich with a late 2-2 draw on Tuesday, Rebels’ victory thanks to John Lansdale’s second-half penalty means they are just a point behind the top two.
Ruddy made his debut in the match and pulled off a number of crucial saves to keep Worthing in it.
While Walton were unlucky not to have a penalty of their own on five minutes as Tom Manton punched the ball off the line, but the home side were given just a corner.
While in the second half Manton and Tom Lawley both went close, before the latter was hauled down in the box and Lansdale netted his fifth goal of the season from the spot kick.
White said: “It was very, very tight.
“It was a real aerial bombardment which we knew it would be.
“I said at half-time there would only be one goal in it and, thankfully, it was us.
“Glen Woodburn and Matt Hurley were outstanding at the back as was Dean who had a fine debut – which was important for him and us.
“It’s not the nicest place to go.
“There is a running track around it so there isn’t much atmosphere and it was bumpy, so it wasn’t great for how we play, but we showed a plan B.”
Rebels now host Kent League side Beckenham Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
White will be waiting on the fitness of a number of players after they suffered a number of bumps and bruises midweek, while Hurley starts a three-games suspension.
Billy Franks picked up a hamstring injury, Manton suffered a dead leg, Lawley got a whack on the head, while Jamie Brotherton was rested with a hamstring problem.
WORTHING: Ruddy; Piper, Hurley, Woodburn, Metcalf; Lawley, Budd, Gedling, Lansdale, Manton; Franks. Subs: Kennett (Franks 25), Pulling (Gedling 70), Timms (Manton 75), Groves, Charles.