Worthing youngster Sam delighted with late equaliser

Worthing celebrate a goal this season. Picture by Marcus Hoare
Worthing celebrate a goal this season. Picture by Marcus Hoare

Seventeen-year-old Sam Lemon said it was a brilliant feeling after earning Worthing Football Club a 2-2 draw with Sutton United in the FA Trophy this afternoon.

Lemon came off the bench to head Worthing's equaliser five minutes from time and they will now head to Sutton for the replay on January 24.

Speaking about his equaliser, Lemon said: "It felt brilliant, especially with all the fans there and because it was my first senior goal as well. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

"The first thing that went through my head when the cross came in was 'if I miss this, I'm going to get it in the ear hole', so I was happy to put it in the goal as I don't score many headers either."

Lemon, who turns 18 next week, started the season at Burgess Hill but moved to Worthing and scored a hat-trick in his first game for the under-18 team, before breaking into the first-team squad.

He added: "Playing in front of a crowd like that was something different. I've never played in front of that many people before and to get my first goal is amazing.

"I want to try to get in the first team more often now, get more minutes and try to score more goals."

Looking ahead to the replay, Lemon said: "Hopefully we can go there and play well, do what we did today and get the win."

Omar Bugiel gave Worthing a 42nd-minute lead but Sutton fought back to lead 2-1, before Lemon's late leveller.

Worthing joint bosses Jon Meeney and Gary Elphick were both proud of their team's performance.

Meeney said: "I'm proud of the boys and their effort.

"We've had openings within the game and we got our first goal at a great time but looking at the first half and even early in the second half, I felt we should have gone 2-0 up and that then potentially affects what happens next.

"But I'm proud of the boys. We came under some real pressure in the second half against a real Conference side. Full credit to Sutton, they brought on players which showed their strength in depth but maybe they weren't looking to use them today.

"They've come on and influenced the game and we started getting deeper and deeper. We did well to keep it at 2-1 but readjusted things from the bench to manage a five or ten minute period to keep it at 2-1 and then we rejigged it again and made it 2-2."

On Lemon's equaliser, Meeney said: "It's a great story for him and the club as it's what we pride ourselves on. We've chucked him on after Luke Brodie put in a fantastic shift.

"He came on to give us a different dimension and full credit to him, he's got himself from a wide area into a central area and finished very well. He didn't have a lot of time to think about it and it was a great headed contact."

Elphick added: "I'm very proud of what this club is achieving with the age of the squad.

"Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe what's happening, so I'm very proud and I think it's probably the first game where we've tasted what real Conference football is like, especially the physicality of it.

"We had to scrap for everything. I think we did get overpowered a bit in the second half but we came back again with that never-say-die attitude and that's something I'm very proud of the players for."

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!