Ollie Pearce's late strike provided Worthing manager Adam Hinshelwood with the perfect birthday present last night.
he former Brighton & Hove Albion defender turned 35 yesterday and his team delivered a 2-1 away win over Bostik League Premier Division basement boys Whitehawk.
Jamal Jones, who came through the ranks at Premier League Crystal Palace, netted on his debut to give the visitors a half-time lead.
However, struggling Hawks levelled through Jason Williams 12 minutes from time but Pearce got what proved the winner five minutes later.
The win took Worthing up to sixth and level on points with rivals Lewes who are in the play-off places.
Following the victory on his birthday, Hinshelwood said: "I thought we did well first half.
“We got a goal and controlled things.
“The second half became a bit like a basketball match, it was end to end.
“I think the thing that worked in our favour was Whitehawk scoring when they did, which gave us some time to respond.
"Whitehawk showed more hunger and they’ll be disappointed not to get at least a point.
“They’re fighting for their lives and we know what that was like being in a similar position last season.
“It seemed like a whole weight of pressure on the lads at Whitehawk, for whatever reason.
“Whether it was the fact it was a derby, the fact we were expected to win or the fact we could push ourselves back closer to the play-off positions.
“We’ve got to look at it and see how we can play with a bit more freedom.”
Defender Jones marked his debut by firing the visitors ahead a minute before the break.
Hawks put the pressure on after the restart and got a deserved leveller through Williams after 78 minutes.
But Worthing were not to be denied all three points. Pearce got the winner five minutes later to ensure his manager celebrated his birthday with a victory.
WORTHING: Perntreou; Colbran, Racine, Jones; Parsons, Budd, Barker, Starkey; Ajiboye, Aguiar; Pearce. Subs: Rance (Starkey, 4), Clarke (Parsons, 65), Skerry, Pattenden, Rents.
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