WORTHING Football Club manager Chris White felt his side ran out of steam as their bid to reach the Ryman League Division 1 South play-off places came to an end on Saturday.
Rebels’ 3-1 loss at Hythe and Godalming’s victory means Worthing can no longer finish in the top five and White said: “We just ran out of steam, it’s as simple as that.
“We probably ran out of steam three or four weeks ago but we got through the Bognor game on adrenaline.
“We also played well in the first half at Merstham and second half at Ramsgate but it was always going to be difficult with a small squad and then we lost our captain Tom Manton to injury as well.
“We went to Hythe on Saturday with just 12 senior players and four youngsters and the season just caught up with us.
“It’s a great shame as the lads have been brilliant and have vastly over-achieved this season.
“We’ve had things in our hands all season up until last Saturday.
“You can always look back on things throughout the season that went wrong – the last-minute goals against Whitehawk, Eastbourne Town and Burgess Hill – but there’s always going to be things like that throughout a season
“It’s a shame the lads couldn’t get a play-off place as they’ve been brilliant and, based on the budget we’ve had, we should have been in the bottom three or four in the division.”
On Saturday, Hythe went close when Dave Cook headed over from six yards when unmarked on 11 minutes.
Rebels had their first chance soon afterwards but Tom Lawley’s header was comfortably saved by former Worthing keeper Dean Ruddy.
Hythe went ahead on 16 minutes when Cook forced the ball home from close range after Jimmy Dryden’s header was cleared off the line.
Rebels defender Glen Woodburn headed against his own bar, before Worthing equalised on the stroke of half-time when Ryan McBride fired into the bottom corner for his 25th goal of the season.
Hythe were back ahead just two minutes into the second half when Brendon Cass scored at the second attempt from John Walker’s cross.
McBride was forced wide and shot off target when he got through as Rebels searched for an equaliser, before Worthing keeper Alan Mansfield made an excellent save to keep out Dryden at the other end.
Dryden was not to be denied, though, as he sealed Hythe’s win with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Striker Shaun Charles left Rebels before the game, while fellow striker Steve Davies was unavailable.
WORTHING: Mansfield; Piper, Woodburn, Hurley, Metcalf; Kennett, Budd, Huckett; Brotherton, McBride, Lawley. Subs: Gedling (Piper 60), Clack (Budd 70), Sparks, Lewis, Williamson.