Meeney: We couldn't be in better form ahead of Bognor clash

Worthing Football Club joint manager Jon Meeney says his side could not be going into Monday's derby with Bognor Regis in better form.

Saturday, 31st December 2016, 6:23 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:01 pm
Worthing joint manager Jon Meeney. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Worthing beat Tonbridge Angels 3-0 at Woodside Road this afternoon to record a seventh successive win and move up to ninth in the Ryman League Premier Division.The Rocks top the table and beat Worthing 5-0 in August but Meeney said: "We couldn't be going into it in any better form and it's going to be a special game. "Confidence should be high but we can't be complacent as it's going to be a competitive game. Both teams will look to play but we've got to make sure this time around we impose our strengths at our home pitch."We have to stay calm and focused. We know it's a derby and we've got a lot of respect for Bognor but ultimately we've got to play our game. We didn't do that down at their place but I think we've come a long way since then."We've learned an awful lot as a management team and players. We've just got to keep doing what has got us on this ten game unbeaten run. It's at our home of football, so we've got to make sure we bring our game to Bognor and have no regrets at the end of 90 minutes."

Victory against nine menWorthing eased to victory against nine-man Tonbridge Angels, who had two players sent off. Worthing won with two penalties from Omar Bugiel and a third goal from Zack Newton, after a third Bugiel spot-kick was saved. A member of Tonbridge's management team and Worthing substitute Brannon O'Neill were also sent off and Meeney said: "The most important thing was to keep the run we've been on going and we've done that."I'm very happy to get everyone bar one through safely. Harvey (Sparks) is off to hospital on his 21st birthday to get a few stitches as he's got a nasty gash on the back of his head and we'll play things by ear in terms of Monday as the safety of the lad comes first."On the first penalty and red cards, Meeney said: "Sometimes it's very hard to see from our angle in the technical area, however with the first one there's a new rule that where there's no intent to win the ball and the movement is to the man, which means he's last man and deserves to be sent off. For me, that's the correct decision."The second red card one there's a confrontation and what's not made it easier for the officials is the way the opposition dugout was. That's added a little bit of fuel to the fire. I can't see amongst bodies if someone has raised their hand but, if that happened, in this day and age it's a straight red."

Melee following the second red cardOn the confrontation that followed the second red card, Meeney said: "I can't comment because I wasn't in the melee. Brannon was just standing his ground. We can look at whether maybe he shouldn't have been in the technical area but where things happen quickly, people try to diffuse the situation and what's happened is people have got caught up in the melee."That then makes it very hard for the officials as there's only three of them and 22 players, plus managements getting involved. It's hard for them and they've got to make their call."

Highlights of 2016In a year where Worthing got promoted to the Ryman League Premier Division, reached the Sussex Senior Cup final and the second round of the FA Trophy, there have been a number of highlights in 2016.Meeney said: "The club's come a long way on and off the pitch. Full credit to myself and Gary's management team, full credit to our players and not just the players in the first team staff but the youth management, the youth players and also people behind the scenes, George (Dowell), Calvin (Buckland), the board and all the volunteers that dedicate their time. "We take the plaudits on the pitch but off the pitch a lot of hard work goes on and I think the club is moving in the right direction on and off the pitch."We've got to stay sustainable but we've got to keep moving forward step by step."

On his own highlight of 2016, Meeney said: "In our first year as management and this group of players, getting promotion. That's got to be up there, we've had some fantastic performances in cup competitions with the Sussex Senior Cup, FA Trophy and FA Cup runs. That's been great but promotion is up there."But ultimately a real high for me is the way we conduct ourselves as a club. At one stage, we didn't even think there would be a club, so the highlight has to be every time we step out here to train and play when we didn't think we'd have a home."We've got a home and we're just enjoying being here."

High crowds at Woodside RoadA crowd of 752 watched the game with Tonbridge and Meeney said: "It was great to see so many people here. The fans are back at Worthing and they are driving the boys on. Hopefully we're giving them things to keep turning up for. Let's hope for a big crowd on Monday, which I'm sure it will be and that just goes to show how far the club has come."People are coming through the doors, there's people on the pitch, everyone is going away with smiles and turning up with smiles, that's what you do it for."

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