Newton's late strike earns Worthing a point
Substitute Zack Newton's late equaliser grabbed Worthing Football Club a point in an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to Billericay this afternoon.
Billericay went ahead through Jerome Sobers in the Ryman League Premier Division after just two minutes but Lloyd Dawes equalised from the penalty spot on 35 minutes.The visitors regained their lead through Billy Bricknell just past the hour but Newton's late leveller earned Worthing a point and ended a three-game losing run in the league.Worthing made two changes from the team which won 1-0 at Hemel Hempstead in their midweek FA Trophy third qualifying round replay as Aaron Hopkinson, who has signed on a short-term deal from Merstham, and Brannon O'Neill came in for Dawes and Kane Wills.The visitors threatened after just 20 seconds when a deep cross from the left reached Lewis Taafe, stretching at the back post, but he was unable to direct his shot on target.Billericay did go ahead after just two minutes, though. Worthing failed to deal with a long throw and centre-back Sobers slid the ball home from six yards after Matt Johnson's shot came back off a post.As Worthing struggled to get going, Billericay should have doubled their lead on 14 minutes. Taafe got in down the right and crossed for Bricknell who headed just wide from eight yards.The hosts went agonisingly close to equalising two minutes later when O'Neill's dipping volley from the edge of the penalty area struck the inside of a post and rebounded into the grateful arms of Billiericay keeper Jake Giddens.Worthing keeper Jack Fagan made a smart stop to keep out Bricknell's snap-shot from close range on 26 minutes, before Taafe headed over a superb Kreshnik Krasniqi left-wing cross moments later.Bricknell was then denied by a excellent last-ditch tackle by Jack Cook after the Billericay striker beat the offside trap on 32 minutes as the visitors continued to look dangerous.However, Worthing levelled just three minutes later when Omar Bugiel was bundled over in the penalty area and substitute Dawes, who had been on the pitch for just four minutes after replacing Matt Boiling, fired home from the spot.Hopkinson had a 30-yard strike tipped over by the back-peddling visiting keeper Giddens on the stroke of half-time as the sides went in level at the break.Billericay almost went back ahead a minute into the second half when Bricknell won possession off Sam Rents and his 35-yard lob was brilliantly clawed to safety by Fagan.At the other end, Bugiel was just unable to get a shot away after beating the offside trap, Harvey Sparks' fizzing strike from 20 yards was held by Giddens and Hopkinson lashed the ball widly wide from 12 yards with just the Billericay keeper to beat.The visitors should have made Worthing pay for those misses just before the hour. Bricknell lobbed Fagan from 20 yards and his effort came back off the bar and he also hit the woodwork from six yards from the rebound, before his subsequent close-range follow ups were saved by Fagan and then blocked on the line.However, within two minutes Bricknell made amends for those misses as he cut in and rifled home from 12 yards to put Billericay back ahead.Worthing had loud penalty appeals waved away with ten minutes to go when Will Hendon went down in the penalty area, before they went close twice in quick succession after 84 minutes when Dawes was denied by Giddens and Brannon O'Neill blazed the rebound over from close range.The hosts levelled a minute later as substitute Newton broke through the Billericay defence and coolly slotted home from 18 yards to earn Worthing a point.
Worthing coach Matt Piper said: "We're pleased we got a point but performance-wise, we're not very happy. Compared to what it was like on Tuesday night, it was chalk and cheese."It was a crazy game and it could have been 5-5 or 6-6 at the end with the amount of chances. There were poor passages of play all over the pitch and we weren't at it defensively. To start the game as slow as that, you're going to get punished at home and we did."We gave ourselves a mountain to climb but credit to the boys, they dug in and got a point which was probably deserved and we should have had a stonewall penalty as well before the second equaliser."The draw ended a three-game losing run in the league and Piper added: "It's weird at the moment because we're playing a lot of cup games, which we're doing well in but our league form is stuttering. "We want to start nailing down our league form now and today was a great opportunity with a home game. We're going to have to improve our home form if we're going to make our way up the league."WORTHING: Fagan; Boiling (Dawes 31), Cook (Newton 66), Heath, Rents; Hendon, O'Neill, Edwards, Sparks; Bugiel, Hopkinson (Hallard 74). Subs: Belward, Watson.
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