WORTHING Football Club suffered a disappointing bank holiday weekend with two demoralising defeats – the second a 3-1 reverse at local rivals Bognor Regis on Monday, which put the Rocks one win away from the title.
Jason Prior’s third successive Ryman League Division 1 South hat-trick in front of a bumper crowd of 1,319 at Nyewood Lane condemned Rebels to defeat against their fierce local rivals, who will win the title with victory at Chatham this weekend.
While, on Saturday, Rebels lost 2-1 at home to play-off-chasing Ramsgate, who had barely a shot on target all game, but scored twice late on to pinch the points.
Rebels boss Chris White was clearly disappointed after the Bognor game, having seen his side keep it at 0-0 until half-time, but he was fuming on Saturday after they threw away three points.
White blasted his side on Saturday as, after leading through Mark Pulling’s second-half strike. Charlie Farmer conceded a penalty on 79 minutes, which Mark Lovell converted, before James Gregory produced a lobbed finish three minutes later to complete a Ramsgate smash and grab.
After the game he fumed: “When are we going to learn? How many times have we lost by an odd goal here this season?
“We got mugged again, and there is only so many times you can say it to them. At 1-1 we needed to show a bit of character and get together to make sure we got something out of the game. We didn’t.”
While for Monday, it was more an air of disappointment, White said: “I thought we did fairly well in the first half, we worked really hard and had more of the game.
“I was hoping at half-time we could emphasis how important the next 20 minutes were, and that they would really come at us. If we could keep it 0-0 for a while then they would get jumpy.
“Unfortunately, though, we conceded straight after half-time which was very, very disappointing.
“We have a young side and they’ll learn a lot from this season, especially playing in front of 1,300-odd people and against the best team in the league.”
Monday started with Rebels enjoying plenty of possession but neither side made a real impact.
Rocks’ Luke Nightingale had a volley blocked while Rebels’ Dan White, in his first start of the season, was also blocked out.
Mike Huckett’s fierce drive on 33 minutes beat Craig Stoner but hit the side netting.
Two minutes into the second half, the Rocks took the lead. Former Rebel Matt Whitehead put Nightingale in and his cross was hit home by Prior.
It was soon 2-0 – thanks to the same combination of players. Nightingale nodded down Whitehead’s cross for Prior, who did the rest.
Seven minutes from time, Prior completed his hat-trick by running on to a flick-on and poking the ball over Tony Di Bernardo.
Worthing scored a consolation goal in injury-time as Dan White broke free in the box and drove past a helpless Stoner.
On Saturday, there were two big shouts for a Worthing penalty before the break, on 37 minutes when John Lansdale’s cross appeared to hit an arm, and when Lawley was upended in the box just a minute later, but both shouts were ignored.
Rebels’ goal came on 63 minutes when Tom Manton slipped in George Gaskin, who squared for Pulling to drill home from 18 yards.
Two minutes later, Manton’s header was brilliantly saved by Smelt, who pushed it onto the bar twice, before Rams made Rebels pay in a costly three-minute spell.
WORTHING v Bognor: Di Bernardo; R.Timms, Metcalf, Franks, Farmer; Saun-ders, Huckett, Manton, Lawley; Gaskin, D.White. Subs: Lansdale (Franks 47), Pulling (Gaskin 70), M.Dodd, Burton, Fernandes.
v Ramsgate: Di Bernardo; Metcalf, R.Timms, Farmer, Mannings; Saunders, Lansdale, Manton, Pulling, Lawley; Gaskin. Subs: D.White (Gaskin 70), Franks (Pulling 83), Jenkins, Peake, M.Dodd.