Worthing Football Club came back down to earth with a bump when they lost at home to Molesey in Ryman League South Division on Saturday.
After the jubiliation of reaching the Sussex Senior Cup final with a penalty shoot-out win against Whitehawk last Wednesday, Rebels conceded two late goals and lost 2-1 to Molesey after skipper Omar Bugiel was sent off.
Bugiel fired Rebels ahead on 57 minutes when he reacted quickest to a rebound after his penalty was saved.
The afternoon turned sour for Bugiel eight minutes later as he was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Ollie Robinson.
That gave Molesey the edge and strikes in the final six minutes from Reis Stanislaus and Craig Lewington sent Rebels to defeat.
Worthing joint boss Gary Elphick admitted Bugiel’s ill discipline was to blame for the defeat and said: “I love Omar to bits and his aggressive side adds so much to his game but sometimes he needs to channel that.
“In the end, that is what cost us. After going 120 minutes last Wednesday in the Sussex Senior Cup and then having to play 30 minutes with a man light, it was just too much.
“Molesey are one of the best attacking sides and we just couldn’t cope.
“That’s not the first time Omar has been dismissed this season and I had a chat with him afterwards. What was said will remain private but if he wants to progress in his career, either here at Worthing or anywhere else, he needs to learn. This is the second time so, hopefully, that lesson will be learned.”
Rebels started well and Harvey Sparks saw an effort tipped on to the bar by Liam Allen, while Lloyd Dawes wasted two good openings in the first ten minutes.
Worthing’s level then dropped and they were lucky not to go behind when Staff Palmer’s 25-yard free kick struck a post.
Rebels went ahead on 57 minutes when Bugiel was hauled down by Robinson and a spot-kick was awarded. Bugiel’s penalty was well saved by Allen but the German was on hand to fire home at the second attempt.
His afternoon got worse from there, though, and a kick-out at Robinson saw him dismissed 25 minutes from time.
Molesey levelled when Stanislaus finished off a fine team move six minutes from the end, before Lewington volleyed home the winner in stoppage-time.
Words were then exchanged after the final whistle between Rebels midfielder Brannon O’Neill and Bugiel, but Elphick wants Saturday to be quickly forgotten about and to see a response at Chatham on Saturday.
He said: “We’ve got quite a young side and sometimes tempers get the better of them. I’m not one for public displays between players, I want that to stay in the changing room.
“I just think we were all frustrated and it got the better of those two. Jon (Meeney; joint boss) took Omar away and I had a chat with Brannon.
“I just hope we don’t look back on this and regret dropping points. I hope it’s not the game that could cost us a spot in the play-offs or promotion come the end of the season, we need to respond quickly now.”
WORTHING: Banks; Hendon, Elphick, Heath, Sparks; Richefond, O’Neill; Jackson, Bugiel, Newton; Dawes. Subs: Piper (Jackson), Metcalf (Newton), Fagan, Axell, Quirke.
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