Sink or swim time as Worthing bid for play-offs

Worthing defender Charlie Williamson on the run during Tuesday's Alan Turvey Trophy defeat to Billericay. Picture by Marcus Hoare
Worthing defender Charlie Williamson on the run during Tuesday's Alan Turvey Trophy defeat to Billericay. Picture by Marcus Hoare

Joint manager Gary Elphick says it is sink or swim time as Worthing Football Club look to creep into the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs.

Worthing have 16 league matches to play and Saturday’s trip to Folkestone begins a run of seven games in just 25 days.

They sit tenth in the table, six points behind fifth-placed Tonbridge Angels with a game in hand, and Elphick said: “It could be a defining period of the season for us, it’s the nitty, gritty part and is the business end.

“We’ve put ourselves in a position to attack the play-offs and you either sink or swim.

“We’re probably going to need two points per game from now on, which will be play-off form. We’ve got 16 games left, so we’ll be looking to try to get at least 25 to 30 points on the board.

“It’s a massive ask but if anyone said to me we’d be in this position at this time of the year, I’d have bitten their hand off.

“It’s been a successful season so far but it could be even more successful if we put a run together.”

Worthing’s full focus is on the league, after they crashed out of their last remaining cup competition, the Alan Turvey Trophy, 7-0 at home to Billericay on Tuesday.

Worthing fielded a youthful line-up as they made ten changes from the 4-3 win at home to Needham Market on Saturday.

Billericay made just two changes from their 2-1 league win at Havant & Waterlooville and eased to victory, having led 3-0 at half-time.

Elphick said: “The competition wasn’t a priority. If we had a squad like Billericay, maybe we could have done something in it this year but, first of all, we’ve got to be safe in the league.

“We’ve still got to get to that magic 50 point barrier, which we haven’t achieved yet. After that, anything else is a bonus and obviously we are looking to sneak into the play-offs.

“Whether we can do that or not is unknown but we’ve given ourselves a fighting chance for Saturday, which is going to be a very difficult fixture at Folkestone.”

On what the club’s youngsters will get out of the game, Elphick said: “It’s a massive learning curve. Billericay had their strongest 11 out by the looks of things and they have a fantastic squad there now.

“The boys wouldn’t have come up against opposition like that before, so they’ll come on leaps and bounds. They got a massive experience from it and that was the main thing going forward.”

Worthing’s fans continued to cheer and support the team throughout the match and Elphick said: “The fans have been different class all year. Hopefully they’ll understand what we’re trying to do here and what we’re trying to achieve.

“We can’t go for a competition like this with a squad of our size. They’ve seen some exciting youth products tonight and hopefully one day they’ll be cheering them on as senior players.”

After Saturday’s trip to Folkestone, Worthing travel to AFC Sudbury on Tuesday.

WORTHING v Billericay: Belward; Ball, Colbran, H.Watson; Williamson, Hallard, O’Neill, Schneider; Hopkinson, Brodie, Clark. Subs: Lemon, Minter (Colbran, Clark 45), Hards (O’Neill 70), Fagan, T.Watson. Att: 318.

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