WORTHING United Football Club are hoping to carry encouraging performances against the league’s high flyers into their final 10 league games of the season.
United, who have dropped into the relegation zone, went down 3-1 at leaders Rye on Saturday, following a narrow 1-0 defeat to title chasers Three Bridges in their previous game, but now face five games against teams in and around them – starting with Arundel on Saturday.
United boss Tobi Hutchinson said: “We weren’t expected to get anything from Rye or Three Bridges, so have kind of used the games a little bit like pre-season friendlies against higher-league clubs to get some fitness.
“Our mini-season starts now. We’ve got 10 games to go and need to finish in the top three of a league of seven teams.
“We’re now coming up against teams similar to us, rather than Three Bridges and Rye, who are going for the title and promotion.”
United lost central defender Jay Head to a twisted knee early on but competed well in the first half at Rye, using the wind to their advantage, and they took the lead after a free kick. James Bywater’s effort from 25 yards was only parried and Tom Chapman smashed in the rebound.
However, the leaders soon levelled as Luis Freitas was adjudged to have handled in the area and Sam Adams smashed home the resulting spot-kick.
Rye, with the benefit of the wind in the second half, took control as Adams hit a nice strike into the roof of the net on 64 minutes, before Kenny Pogue’s late header from a corner sealed the win.
Hutchinson said: “We did okay for an hour but didn’t get the rub of the green again.
“We could have had a penalty when Tom Chapman was pole-axed in the penalty area by two players and, then, five minutes later, they got a penalty when the ball ran across Luis Freitas’ hand.
“He didn’t control it or anything, it wasn’t delibrate and they got a penalty and equalised.
“They say decisions even themselves out over the season, so we’re due some luck in our last few games.
“After that, it was just a case of trying to hold on as we didn’t really look like scoring again. And, when they went 2-1 ahead, it was pretty much game over.”
United hope to have versatile Ben Putland, from Eastbourne United, in their squad for Saturday’s clash at Arundel.