WORTHING Football Club eased into the first qualifying round of the FA Cup after a comfortable 3-1 victory at Whitstable Town on Saturday.
Tom Lawley’s fourth goal of the season put Rebels ahead, while two John Lansdale goals in the second half ensured it was Rebels’ magic in the cup in their opening-round fixture.
There was no repeat of last year’s antics when a weakened Rebels side crashed out at the second qualifying round at Enfield, with boss Chris White selecting one of the strongest starting XIs possible.
White praised a polished performance from his side in what was a fairly routine exercise for Rebels. He said: “It’s a great competition, the FA Cup and, of course, you always want to go as far as you can, and this was a great start for us.
“We pretty much dominated the game. If there was a possession percentage taken, it would have read 70-30 to us. They had a spell in the first 10 minutes, but after that all they really had was the long ball.
“We knew they would be down on confidence and we spoke before the game that if we could get on top of them early and get an early goal, we would see what they were made of – which we did.
“It was a really good display of football and we looked solid defensively, so I was pleased.”
Rebels quickly gained the upper hand and Lawley cut in from the left and his effort cannoned in off the near post on eight minutes.
Worthing, who were without Jamie Brotherton, Spencer Slaughter and Shaun Charles, continued to control the half and went close through Tom Manton and Lansdale on a couple of occasions.
After the break, Rebels continued to dominate and Mark Pulling tested Whitstable’s replacement goalkeeper Phil Hyde early in the half from Lansdale’s long throw.
This then lead to Rebels’ second, as from the resulting corner the ball fell to Lansdale at the edge of the area and he drove home within just three minutes of the half.
McBride went close to adding a third, although he forced Hyde into a fine save. A lapse in concentration saw the home side pull a goal back through Stuart Vahid’s overhead kick, but any Rebels’ nerves were settled four minutes later when Pulling and McBride comined to feed Lawley, who found himself brought down by Hyde in the area, and Lansdale converted the resulting penalty.
Rebels arranged a friendly with County League Ferring on Tuesday but it was postponed owing to the poor weather.
Worthing return to league action on Saturday, when they host Merstham and should be virtually full strength.
Midfielder Mike Huckett is still out with his ankle injury, while Steve Davies has still not overcome a groin problem, although they are hoping to have him fully fit for when McBride goes on holiday in three weeks’ time.
WORTHING: Mansfield; Piper, Hurley Woodburn, Metcalf; Lawley, Budd, Pulling, Lansdale, Manton; McBride. Subs: Franks (Pulling 83) Gedling (Budd 87), Murphy (McBride 90), Davies, T.Timms.