WORTHING College men’s football academy 1st XI take on Leeds City College in the last eight of the ECFA National play-offs on Wednesday (May 9).
Worthing sealed the tie before Easter by winning their ECFA National League, only losing once in the process. The top two teams from the four National Leagues across the country go into a play-off to decide the best College side in the country. As Worthing won their league, they have been given a home tie, which will be played at the new Palatine Park complex with a 1pm kick-off.
Worthing coach Dave Hall said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Tony Lelliott and all at Worthing Town Youth FC for letting us use their superb facilities as our other home pitches (Arundel and East Preston) are now under maintenance in preparation for next season. I’m sure the playing surface will be fitting of such an important match.
“This will be the first time since I have been at the college where we will have home advantage for such a big National level game. In past years, our big away National matches at York and Queens School Watford have started slowly for us, which has allowed the hosts to get a foothold in the game, which is then difficult to break back.
“I hope that, with our preparation and home support, we can be the ones that start quickly as it is usually only small differences in quality that decide the winners and losers.
“When we played York in 2010 we travelled the night before, trained, then played the next day, which was an excellent experience, but I feel the travelling took its toll and we tired towards the end, which could be a factor in Leeds’ preparation.”
Worthing warmed up for the game with a 2-0 win against an old academy XI at Arundel on Friday.
The only injury concern for Worthing is goalkeeper James Binfield, who misses the game due to ankle ligament damage while on a volleyball coaching course. Hall said: “I’m gutted for James as he has developed so much this year and has played for Pagham’s first team for most of the season, which shows how far he has come. However, in my opinion we have the best two goalkeepers in Sussex at this age group with Jack Fagan, who has been Worthing FC’s number 2 this season and I’m sure he will take this opportunity with both hands and do himself proud as his attitude this season has been spot on”