Rebels have nothing to fear in two huge games

Lloyd Dawes hit the winner in Rebels victory away to Whitstable on Saturday
Lloyd Dawes hit the winner in Rebels victory away to Whitstable on Saturday

Worthing Football Club joint manager Gary Elphick says his side have nothing to fear heading into two huge games.

Rebels, third in the Ryman League South Division table, host runaway leaders Folkestone Invicta on Saturday, before travelling to second-placed Dorking Wanderers the following week.

A 1-0 win at Whitstable on Saturday kept Rebels three points behind Dorking, with a game in hand, but they are 19 points adrift of Folkestone.

Worthing are seven points clear of Faversham, who sit just outside the play-off places, and Elphick said: “They’re two huge games. Hopefully the wins against Chatham and Whitstable, which on paper are games you’d expect us to win, will breed some confidence going into these games.

“Folkestone are the best team in the league, so it will be great to test ourselves against them. Hopefully, we’ll cause them problems and make them adapt to the way we play.

“Then we go to Dorking the following week but we’ll go into both games with nothing to fear.”

Omar Bugiel will miss both games through suspension but full-back Will Hendon could return for Saturday’s game. Midfielder Jordan Clark, who has been out since January, is still a doubt with an ankle ligament injury.

Lloyd Dawes’ 29th goal of the season took Worthing to all three points at Whitstable on Saturday. The attacking player is now just one away from becoming the first Rebels player to score 30 in a season since Sam Francis 12 years ago.

He netted the only goal of the game from the penalty spot two minutes into the second half after a foul on Ben Pope.

Worthing could have made the win more convincing but Pope headed over from ten yards and Dawes was unable to take two excellent openings.

Elphick said: “It was a great result on a really difficult pitch. We should have won by more as we missed a couple of golden opportunities but we’re getting a bit of form going at the right time.

“We showed the ugly side to our game to make sure we got the win.”

On Dawes moving on to 29 goals, Elphick said: “It’s a very impressive total and Lloyd is one of those attacking players, a bit like Ronaldo, who goes where he wants. Hopefully he’ll keep this form going but what’s pleased me is the way he’s knuckled down with his defensive duties recently.

“If you’re going to be challenging in any league, you need someone to score 20 to 30 goals and it’s not just been Lloyd as everyone has been chipping in as well.”

Rebels’ Sussex Senior Cup final with Eastbourne Borough will be on Friday, May 20, with a 7.45pm kick-off at the Amex.

Elphick said: “It’s a bit of a shame it’s not on a Saturday when a family could all attend and that it’s three weeks after the season ends.

“However, that’s the date that’s been set because of playing it at the Amex and with Brighton possibly being in the play-offs. It will still be a fantastic occasion for the club.”

WORTHING: Banks; Piper, Elphick, Heath, Metcalf; Jackson, Axell, O’Neill, Sparks; Pope, Dawes. Subs: Fagan, Newton, Edwards.

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