Rebels lift champion of champions title
Worthing Football Club's under-21 side finished their season in style when they were crowned the best team in the Ryman under-21 League.
The young Rebels, who won the South Division title, defeated North Division winners Billericay on penalties at Harlow on Saturday to lift the champion of champions trophy.
The game was 1-1 at the end of normal time and 2-2 after extra-time, before Worthing won 5-3 on spot-kicks.
Billericay opened the scoring after 20 minutes when Conor Hubble guided the ball home from a corner.
Worthing had the better of the rest of the first half but Hayden Hunter blazed over and Matt Hardman had a headed effort ruled out for a foul.
Jack Hartley equalised for Rebels with a superb free kick into the top corner early in the second half but few chances were then created in the remainder of normal time.
Billericay took the lead for a second time in the first half of extra time when a scramble in the six-yard box following a corner was stabbed home by Hafeez Sanusi.
Rebels stepped things up in the second half of extra-time and Steve Herbert equalised from fellow substitute Tyrell Brown’s cross.
As Worthing tired, Billericay had a couple of half-chances and Rebels keeper Chris Cook then made a great save to deny Tom Derry, who was through on goal.
The game then went to penalties and Jack Barnes, Cook, Herbert, Jazz Rance and Hunter scored from the spot as Rebels won 5-3.
Worthing manager Bob Paine said: “What a fantastic end to the season, to be the best under-21 team in the Ryman League.
“When it really mattered again today, the team showed great character to come from a goal down twice. We had some very tired players as we went into extra-time but I could tell they wanted it so badly after the disappointment of the Sussex Intermediate Cup final and somehow they found reserves of energy to get through extra-time.
“Our penalties were superb, we had practiced them just in case but you never know what can happen when the pressure is on.
“These boys have been first class this season. The way they have represented the club both on and off the pitch is excellent. They thoroughly deserve this win and we have so many great memories of this season.”
The match was Paine’s last in charge of the team after two years as manager. He has now taken over at Southern Combination League side East Preston.
WORTHING: Cook, Josh Parazo, Jacob Parazo, Gilbertson, Lyne, Etherington, Hartley, Hardman, Rance, Barnes, Hunter. Subs: Brown, Herbert, Witten.
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