'Players deserve enormous credit' - Adam Hinshelwood on Worthing's stunning comeback at rivals Bognor
Adam Hinshelwood saluted his Worthing battlers as they stormed back to grab a point at rivals Bognor.
A below-par first half performance had seen them trailing by two goals at the break but James Crane’s penalty and Jesse Starkey’s late strike ensured it ended 2-2 in the Bostik League Premier Division derby tussle at Nyewood Lane.
The stunning second-half fightback stretched Worthing’s unbeaten run to six matches and Hinshelwood heaped praise on his squad.
It looked a tall order for the visitors, who faced an uphill struggle with efforts inside the opening 21 minutes from Mason Walsh and Joe Tomlinson putting Rocks in command.
However a rallying showing after the restart was rewarded, much to the delight of boss Hinshelwood.
He said: “The first goal was always going to be crucial and it proved to be.
“Jesse (Starkey) has either lost his footing or been a bit weak then we’re 1-0 down but relatively pleased with how you’ve started.
“It was tough to take but the players deserve enormous credit for the way they played in the second half.
“We showed great character, belief and really took the game to Bognor in the second half - after going 2-0 down it was a credit to them.
“If we’d got our first goal earlier, it’s all us taking the game to them at their place.
“It was pleasing in the end but some of the play in the first half was disappointing.”
Having made a promising start, Worthing were stunned as Walsh broke the deadlock on nine minutes.
Things got worse when Brighton loan man Tomlinson doubled Bognor’s lead after 21 minutes.
But Worthing had a lifeline when Harvey Whyte handled in the area 16 minutes from time, with former Rock Crane firing home the penalty.
Ex-Gillingham man Starkey then levelled in stoppage-time as the visitors claimed a point.
Hinshelwood handed goalkeeper Lucas Covolan a return to competitive action against rivals Bognor.
The Brazilian had been out since October having broke his arm in October but after completing 80 minutes in a midweek friendly, the Worthing boss threw him in from the start.
Albanian-born stopper Kleton Perntreou dropped to the bench, although Hinshelwood felt Covolan should have done better for Rocks' second goal.
He added: "Lucas will know himself that he’s got to do better with the second goal. He got two hands on it and you’ve got to deal with it a lot better than he did.
“Lucas didn’t have a great deal to do second half.
“It’s good to have him back, he’s good for us on the ball, moving it quickly around the back.
“We’re pleased to have him back and he’s only going to get better between now and the end of the season.”
WORTHING: Covolan; Colbran, Crane, Aguiar, Barker, Jones, Ajiboye, Poku, Pattenden, Pearce, Starkey. Subs: Clarke (Barker, 28), Parsons (Pattenden, 67), Kealy, Young, Perntreou.
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