WORTHING Football Club had to settle for a point on manager Chris White’s first return to his old side at Gorings Mead as a nervy Bank Holiday Monday battle with local rivals Horsham YMCA ended 1-1.
Ex-Rebel Gavin Gordon put Ryman League Division 1 South bottom side YM ahead a minute before half-time from the penalty spot, only for John Lansdale’s superb free kick to level things up on 54 minutes.
White, who left his old club at the start of the season to join the Rebels, named seven former YM players from last season in his starting XI, but for one of those, Tony Timms, it proved a return to forget.
Having given away the earlier penalty the skipper was handed his marching orders for tripping Kevin Lott when clean through with 20 minutes remaining.
Both teams had further chances to win the game, with YM substitute Tony Reid seeing a 93rd-minute header cleared off the line as the points were shared.
YM carved two chances in the opening two minutes, Gordon was denied by Rebels keeper Tony Di-Bernardo and Lott then fired over when teed up by Gordon.
Home keeper Mark Fox scrambled across his goal to keep out Lansdale’s dipping 25-yard free kick before Lott dragged a good chance wide when again picked out in the box by Gordon, while Spencer Sachies came even closer with a snap half-volley from range.
Worthing began to create chances of their own, Tom Lawley fired straight at Fox from just inside the box before the keeper made a fine stop to claw away a Tony Timms’ header.
Then a minute later, Mike Huckett bent a shot just wide of the far post having combined well with Terry Dodd.
But it was YM who went into the break ahead. Worthing failed to clear their lines from a free kick and Tony Timms body-checked Daryl Plummer just inside the box in the 44th minute, allowing Gordon to send Di-Bernardo the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Worthing started the second-half with real purpose and took little time to draw level through Lansdale’s wonderfully-struck free kick from the edge of the area.
The midfielder expertly curled into the far bottom corner, and soon after Huckett poked inches wide as the visitors’ confidence grew.
Worthing were reduced to 10 men when Timms was shown a straight red, but both teams continued to carve out good chances.
Peter Adewumi nipped in to clear what looked a certain goal after Fox had parried Callum Saunders’ driven cross, Dodd had a shot deflected over the bar and Saunders stung the hands of the impressive Fox with a shot on the bounce from outside the box.
YM’s Damien Ramsey sent Reid darting through the middle but the forward could only lash wide and in the last minute of stoppage time his header looked destined for the bottom corner, only for Ryan Timms to somehow hack it clear to save a point for White’s men.
Rebels have now won just one of their 12 away matches this season, although White felt they should have got their second away success and said: “We should have won the game in the end. We weren’t very good in the first half, in truth, and it was as poor as we’ve been for a while as we looked lethargic.
“But we were camped in their half in the second half and their keeper made three or four fantastic saves. On another day, we could have scored four or five.
“After going down to 10 men, you’d take the draw, though, and we could have lost it at the end when Ryan cleared off the line.”
On YM’s penalty and Tony Timms’ red card, White said: “I’ve no complaints about either. But it’s disappointing Tony’s got his second red card of the season and he could miss five or six games now.”
White had praise for goalscorer Lansdale and said: “It was a terrific free kick and he was probably our man of the match.
“He’s a good player and is playing well at the moment.”
WORTHING: Di-Bernardo; R.Timms, T.Timms, Beda, Metcalf; Saunders, Lansdale, Huckett, Lawley; Dodd, D.White. Subs: Pulling, Townsend (Lawley, White 72), Charles (Saunders 85), Gedling, Peake.