WORTHING FC manager Chris White hailed his side’s character but was furious with the referee after 10-man Rebels’ 3-1 defeat at Folkestone on Wednesday (September 14).
Rebels’ boss felt two key decisions went against his side in the top-of-the-table Ryman League Division 1 South clash as Worthing’s unbeaten league run came to an end.
Central defender Matt Hurley was sent-off after just 20 minutes for violent conduct and White then felt Worthing should have had a penalty when Tom Lawley went down in the area, with Folkestone leading 2-1.
White said: “They are a good footballing side but we had started really well and it would have been a cracking game of football if Matt hadn’t been sent off.
“I didn’t see what happened but there was a little tussle by the corner flag, play carried on and, all of a sudden, one of their players has thrown himself to the floor.
“Someone said Matt was sent-off for elbowing their player and someone else said there was just a coming together. Matt has told me he didn’t elbow him and, something like that, would be very out of character for him.
“This is one of the biggest fixtures in the league and it was ruined by the man in the middle.
“The sending-off made life very difficult for us. We had to sacrifice Darren Budd and put Billy Franks into central defence and go 4-4-1.
“We held out until just before half-time and the lads were brilliant in the second half.
“They all worked their socks off and I was proud of each and every one of them. They all showed a lot of charatcer.
“We should have had a penalty at 2-1 as well. Tom Lawley was taken out and it was a blatant penalty but the referee didn’t give it.”
John Lansdale fired Rebels ahead, for his fourth goal in three games, with a free kick on 13 minutes, which took a slight deflection.
Hurley saw red seven minutes later, before Folkestone levelled on the stroke of half-time through Ryan Moreby, although White felt there was handball by a Folkestone player in the lead-up to the goal.
Worthing keeper Alan Mansfield made four outstanding saves in the second half, before James Everitt gave Folkestone the lead with eight minutes left.
Then, shortly after Rebels’ penalty appeal was turned down, Folkestone’s Joshua Vincent netted a third to seal victory and move his side above Worthing into third in the table.
Worthing are at Ryman League Division 1 North side Chatham in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Steve Metcalf and Spencer Slaughter will have fitness tests on the day. Mike Huckett will soon join County League Arundel on loan to get match fitness and Jamie Groves is at Lancing for the same reason.
WORTHING: Mansfield; Lansdale, Hurley, Woodburn, Piper; Brotherton, Budd, Gedling, Manton, Lawley; McBride. Subs: Franks (Budd 20), T.Timms (Brotherton 65), Pulling (McBride 75), Charles, Murphy.