Worthing’s friendly with Watford under-21’s abandoned

Harvey Sparks in action for Rebels against Thamesmead last Saturday

Harvey Sparks in action for Rebels against Thamesmead last Saturday

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Worthing Football Club’s pre-season friendly with Watford’s under-21 side at Woodside Road was abandoned with 13 minutes left to play this afternoon.

After heading home Matt Axell’s free-kick on 64 minutes, forward Ben Pope went down injured and received treatment on the field for the following 30 minutes with an ambulance called.

On early inspection, it looks as though Pope broke his ankle but the full extent of his injury is yet to be confirmed.

Rebels joint boss Gary Elphick admits everyone at the club wishes Pope a speedy recovery and was left gutted for the frontman.

He said: “It looks like a suspected broken ankle for Ben, with injuries as serious as that it just a case of waiting for confirmation.

“Fingers crossed it’s not as bad as first thought but it’s a case of getting behind Ben and looking after him now.

“It was probably one of his best games in pre-season so far but unfortunately these things happen in football.

“I’m gutted for the lad, I love him to death on and off the pitch and it just puts a dampen on things today.”

The game finally got underway at 3.45pm after Watford were stuck in traffic on the way to Woodside.

Over the course of the match, Rebels were more than a match for Harry Kewell’s under-21 side and were 1-0 up at the break.

Harvey Sparks’ cross was put through his own net by Essaid Belkalem on 21 minutes.

Pope then fired Worthing two goals ahead 19 minutes after the break, before going down with the game being called on 77 minutes.

Former Liverpool winger and Hornets under-21 boss Kewell admitted it was difficult circumstances for the game to finish but was impressed by Worthing.

He said: “The boy Ben had a really good game and it’s unfortunate to see something like that.

“Hopefully he gets a full recovery and is back playing as soon a possible.

“I thought Worthing were decent, strong competition for us. I was more concentrated on my own team but they had a job which was executed well.”

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