10-man United earn a point at home to EP

Worthing United's Mark Burgess was sent off in the first half against East Preston
Worthing United's Mark Burgess was sent off in the first half against East Preston

WORTHING United Football Club built on their first league win of the season with a 1-1 draw at home to high-flying East Preston on Tuesday (February 19).

Both sides had loan signings on show from teams in higher leagues, and it was Terry Dodd who looked the most threatening for EP, heading just wide on four minutes. Just five minutes later, Dodd forced a good save from JJ Banasco-Zaragoza after a strong run down the left wing as the visitors failed to capitalise on their early dominance.

The hosts then came into the game as Nani Ali had a firm header well saved by Bognor loanee Tom Boyle on 28 minutes.

A minute later, Mavericks did take the lead, however, with a screamer from Worthing loanee Josh Clack, who took his chance after Matt Axell failed to clear.

Clack’s shot from 30 yards was unstoppable and worthy of any game you could care to mention.

United’s joy quickly turned to exasperation on 32 minutes as Mark Burgess saw a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Joe Shelley that Paul Curtis had no arguments with. It was Burgess’ third sending off of the season and will mean that the combative frontman, who is due to start a four-match ban on Saturday, will have a longer lay-off.

EP could have gone into the break on level terms but Banasco-Zaragoza superbly kept out Joe Shelley’s header.

The second period started with the visitors in the ascendancy and they equalised with a Shaun Charles penalty on 51 minutes, after he had been tripped by Ali.

Dodd had a number of chances, mainly of his own making, but had neglected to put 50p in his radar, leaving United to collect a well-deserved point.

Mavericks boss Paul Curtis said: “If you’d have offered me a point before the game I’d have taken it, but had we kept 11 players on the pitch for the whole game I reckon we’d have won.”

UNITED: Banasco-Zaragoza; Shoebridge, Adams, McLeod, Stillwell, Ali; Mancktelow, Wilds, Burgess, Donnelly; Clack. Subs: Milner (Ali 54), Farrier (Donnelly 72), Pinilla (Clack 77), Curtis, Betts.