WORTHING Football Club were held to a 3-3 draw by Crawley Down at home today (Saturday) in the preliminary round of the FA Trophy.
Despite being ahead within 13 seconds through Jamie Brotherton’s early strike, a spirited Crawley battled back, and looked the more likely to pinch the winner in the second half and even had a penalty saved by Dean Ruddy.
Rebels now have to travel to Crawley on Tuesday night for the replay, which has come as a pain to boss Chris White, who was hoping for a free week ahead of their FA Cup third qualifying round clash with Staines Town.
After Brotherton had put Rebels ahead, they had a number of opportunities to extend their lead and found Crawley’s goalkeeper, ex-Worthing stopper, Michael Hunter making a number of stops.
Crawley, against the run of play, equalised on 19 minutes, as Brannon O’Neill’s effort was pushed away by Ruddy, but into the path of Lewis Blewden who tapped home.
Ryan McBride nodded Rebels ahead on the half hour mark as he finished John Lansdale’s fine free kick at the far post.
Luke Gedling then hit the underside of the bar, before Gabriel Odunaike ran on to Paul Kennett’s back header and lobbed over the approaching Ruddy to put them level at the break.
Within five minutes of the restart Hassan Nyang headed home a corner to put Crawley ahead, but Rebels responded within two minutes as Tom Manton lashed home after latching onto a long goal kick.
Crawley then edged the latter of the game as Ruddy made a couple of smart saves, including a penalty, after Glen Woodburn needlessly barged over Nyang in the area.
White said: “We made life very hard for ourselves today. I have said to the players perhaps we have believed the hype about how well we were playing, but we were no where near good enough today.
“All we have done is make it harder for ourselves on Saturday. It was the last thing we wanted, but we’ll have to roll up our selves and get on with it.
“Their front two were a handful, but when you allow them to play and get long balls in behind you your going to have problems.”
But the winner never came and the two sides face off again at Haven Sportsfield on Tuesday. Kick off is 7.30pm.
WORTHING: Ruddy; Piper, Woodburn, Kennett, Metcalf; Brotherton, Lansdale, Gedling, Manton, Charles; McBride. Subs: Budd, Lawley (Metcalf, Charles 69), Pulling (Gedling 76), Franks, Huckett. Attd: 264.