WORTHING Football Club joint manager Gary Elphick believes his side have learned how to win ugly after back-to-back away victories.
Rebels fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Carshalton on Saturday, before they won 3-1 away to Hastings United on Tuesday, which was their sixth victory in seven games.
Elphick believes the 2-0 defeat at Three Bridges earlier this month could be a pivotal moment in the season and said: “The most pleasing thing is that our young players have learned and taken on board that sometimes you can’t play pretty football all the time.
“When you come up against physical and tough sides, you have got to find a way of winning games ugly and mix it up.
“After the defeat to Bridges, Jon (Meeney) and I, as disappointed as we were, said it will be the biggest learning curve of a lot of their careers.
“Jon talks about game management and, sometimes, you have to take the tempo out of a game. That’s what you need to do to be successful and challenge for championships.
“We’ve won six of our last seven now and have got to keep this form up. We haven’t achieved anything yet and we’ve got to make sure we keep learning.”
Two goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half put Worthing in charge at Hastings and although ex-Rebel Billy Medlock got one back, the visitors killed the game off with a injury-time third.
On a pitch which had absorbed all the rain of the preceding 24 hours remarkably well, Hastings had the better of the first half without managing to make the all-important breakthrough.
Medlock was denied by the offside flag, Sean Ray headed narrowly off target from a Sam Adams corner and Medlock shot just wide.
Worthing keeper Rikki Banks then pulled off a superb save to keep out Ollie Rowe’s header, while the visitors’ best moment of the first half was a well-struck shot from distance by Lloyd Dawes, which was parried by Josh Pelling.
Dawes put Worthing ahead with a stunning goal less than two minutes into the second period. He flicked the ball up in the right-hand side of the United box and unleashed a magnificent volley into the far top corner with his left foot.
Hastings struggled to recover from that setback and Worthing doubled their advantage in the 57th minute. Ray upended Jack Barnes as the Worthing midfielder was about to pull the trigger in a dangerous position and Omar Bugiel sent Pelling the wrong way with the resulting penalty.
Medlock pulled a goal back when he fired high into the net on 79 minutes.
However, Worthing took advantage of Hastings pushing bodies forward to add a third in the fifth minute of added time. Bugiel rounded Pelling and teed up substitute Callum Overton for a simple tap in.
Rebels travel to Southern League St Neots, who won their replay 5-2 at Tilbury on Tuesday, in the FA Cup second qualifying round on Saturday.
Elphick said: “It’s going to be a tough game. The beauty of the FA Cup, though, is that it all comes down to who turns up on the day.”
Worthing are running a coach to the game. Visit Rebels’ website for more details.
Worthing then entertain Chipstead on Tuesday.
WORTHING: Banks, Hendon, Metcalf, Axell, Elphick, Heath, Dawes (Newton 90), Barnes, Pope (Overton 68), Bugiel, Sparks. Subs not used: Morey, Quirke.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!