Adam Hinshelwood revealed he was ‘pleased’ with his side’s work rate after they were held to a 2-2 draw at Cray Wanderers in the Isthmian Premier Division on Saturday.
Worthing fell behind on the half-hour mark but drew level when Ricky Aguiar stabbed in a low cross.
The hosts’ Jay Leader diverted a Shola Ayoola cross into his own net to pull the Reds in front deep into stoppage time but Cray found an even later equaliser when Aguiar inadvertently headed the ball into his own net.
The added-time action continued when Jesse Starkey received a red card for a second bookable offence as both sides had to settle for a point.
Despite the late drama, Hinshelwood admitted it was a fair result. He said: “It was gutting but, on reflection, it was probably a fair result.
“They missed a couple of chances, we missed a couple of chances so it is what it is.
“Obviously, scoring that late, you think you’re going to be taking the three points back with you but I thought, in terms of the standard of football that was played, it was a great advert for the league.”
He continued: “They are a really good side and their first goal is one of the best goals I’ve seen at this level, in terms of playing out from the back and moving the ball.
“Both teams would have been disappointed to come away with nothing from the game.”
Hinshelwood also saw some improvements from the Mackerels’ previous two games. He said: “We pressed them really well. We worked hard for each other and that was the key thing.
“In the last few games, we’ve been a bit off it, and our work ethic’s dropped off, so I was pleased with how hard everyone worked.”
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Lloyd Dawes had an early goal ruled out for offside while an audacious backheel from a Cray striker trickled wide before the home side took the lead on 30 minutes.
Playing out from the back with some neat passing, Cray careered up the field before the ball was squared to Joe Taylor who prodded home from six yards out.
Worthing found an equaliser after the break when Aguiar got on the end of a low cross, ahead of a defender, before slamming home in the 65th minute.
The game looked to be heading for a draw until Worthing grabbed what most assumed to be a late winner.
A dangerous ball into the area from Ayoola was knocked on by Leader for an unfortunate own-goal.
Yet Cray hit back in the sixth minute of injury-time when Bradley Pritchard’s hopeful corner soared into a crowded penalty area where, in trying to clear, Aguiar headed in to his own net.
Starkey was booked for a second time in the closing stages which saw Worthing finish the game with ten men.
The Mackerels visit Haywards Heath Town in the Sussex Senior Cup on Wednesday evening (7.45pm) before they host AFC Sudbury in the second qualfiying round of the FA Trophy on Saturday.
Worthing: Rushworth, Colbran, Tutt, Young, Armstrong (Doughty 74’), Pashley, Dawes (Kealy 79’), Aguiar, Parsons (Ayoola 84’), Meekums, Starkey. Unused: Edwards, Stevens.