We’ll go out all guns blazing against Folkestone – Elphick

Lloyd Dawes
Lloyd Dawes

WORTHING Football Club joint boss Gary Elphick says his side will go out all guns blazing when they travel to leaders Folkestone Invicta on Saturday.

Rebels are second in Ryman League South Division, nine points behind Folkestone, after their win at home to Hythe on Tuesday but Elphick is viewing Saturday’s game as a free shot for his team.

He said: “I don’t think it’s a big game at all as we’re punching well above our weight. I’m only interested in how we’re doing and we’re going well in the play-offs and are seven points clear of sixth.

“It’s a free shot for us at Folkestone. We can go there and give it a right good go as there’s no pressure on us. Win, lose or draw, we’ll go out all guns blazing.”

Omar Bugiel is back from suspension for Rebels but Brannon O’Neill is still banned.

Ben Pope (hamstring) and Matt Axell (calf) are set to miss out, while Elphick (calf) is hopeful of returning and captain Steve Metcalf could be back. Striker Tony Nwachukwu is still looking at a return sometime in the new year.

On paper, Tuesday’s game looked a stern test for Rebels as they faced a Hythe Town side who had lost only one of their previous 11 league games.

Joint manager Jon Meeney described the 2-0 win afterwards as a great way to bounce back after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Guernsey.

The hosts started brightly and as early as the first minute Ryan Quirke and Harvey Sparks linked up neatly on the left wing, with the latter sending in a testing cross. Zak Newton could not connect meaningfully but was adjudged offside anyway. The same trio combined in the fourth minute, with Newton’s clever back heel going wide, then five minutes later Newton’s header went wide from another Quirke/Sparks manoeuvre.

It was fourth time lucky for Rebels in the 17th minute as Newton finally found the target from three yards after yet another Sparks cross, set up beautifully by a Quirke flick that put two defenders out of the game.

Hythe finally made Rikki Banks work on 30 minutes when Frankie Sawyer sent in a swerving effort from 20 yards.

The lapse for Rebels continued into the 35th minute when Alfie May, with five goals in his last three games, was allowed to control a cross in the box only to poke his effort wide.

Rebels missed yet another chance after 37 minutes as Quirke fed Lloyd Dawes but the home striker blazed over with only the keeper to beat and just before the break, Banks saved brilliantly at May’s feet.

The second period saw Worthing continue their dominance and their lead was doubled in the 59th minute as Dawes played in Will Hendon, who was impeded by Craig Cloke, which allowed Dawes to send Joe Mant the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Newton should have got his second on the hour but he put the ball the wrong side of the post with the goal unguarded from Dawes’ centre.

The next miss involved the same pair but in opposite roles, with Dawes striking the ball against the on-rushing Mant after 64 minutes, before Quirke missed an open goal five minutes later from Newton’s powerful pull-back.

Meeney said: “The two centre halves were excellent tonight but especially Jordan (Clark) who is essentially playing out of position. Both him and Corey (Heath) nullified their front two and read the game brilliantly tonight, but these are a great set of lads who will always give you everything they’ve got.”

WORTHING: Banks; Hendon, Clark, Heath, Sparks; Newton, Axell, Richefond, Quirke; Dawes, Overton. Subs: Barnes (Axell 50), Piper (Newton 81), Hards, Edwards, Fagan.

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