Worthing draw thriller on return to Woodside Road
Kieron Pamment's injury-time penalty saw Worthing Football Club draw 3-3 against Met Police on the club's return to Woodside Road this afternoon.
The hosts led 2-1 heading into the closing stages and were on course to win their first game of the season but two goals in the final five minutes from Lloyd Macklin, the first a controversial penalty, gave the visitors a 3-2 lead. However, Pamment levelled from the spot deep in injury-time to earn Worthing a deserved point.
Worthing's Woodside Road pitch failed three FIFA test quality certifications in the summer. That meant the club played their first six home games of the season away, before five home games took place at Bognor.
After work by contractors on the pitch over the past couple of weeks, the pitch passed a FIFA certification on Tuesday and today's match was the first of three successive home games.
In front of a 855 crowd, Macklin gave Met Police a sixth-minute lead but Worthing levelled through Pamment midway through the first half, before Zack Newton put them ahead on the hour. Macklin struck twice late on to complete his hat-trick and put Police 3-2 ahead, before Pamment made it 3-3 deep in injury-time.
Worthing fell behind after just six minutes when a long ball forward was flicked on to Lloyd Macklin, who got the wrong side of Alfie Young, and drilled home past Lucas Covolan from 15 yards.
The hosts responded well to falling behind and a dangerous Pamment free kick was pushed away by Police keeper Luke Williams, before Jaz Rance guided a header straight at the visiting keeper on nine minutes.
Rance then saw an effort tipped over on 13 minutes, before Young's header from the resulting corner was cleared off the line.
Worthing continued to press and again went close to equalising on 24 minutes. Pamment released Newton down the right and his cross was met by Rance, who could only fire into the side netting from six yards.
The equaliser Worthing deserved came on 27 minutes. Rance's cross came off Reece Meekums and fell favourably for Pamment to volley home from eight yards.
The hosts almost went ahead three minutes later when Pamment's free kick was met by Young but his close-range header was tipped on to the bar by Williams.
Met Police had an opening to regain the lead on 37 minutes when Rance's misplaced pass set Macklin through on goal but he was pushed wide by a combination of goalkeeper Lucas Covolan and Tom Cadman and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Chances were few and far between at the start of the second half until Worthing went ahead on the hour when Newton swept home a superb left-footed volley from 15 yards.
Cadman had to be alert to turn away Tom Bird's low cross on 66 minutes with Ryan James waiting to tap home at the back post, before Covolan pushed over James' header four minutes later.
Rance almost added a third for Worthing on 72 minutes but saw his first shot saved by Williams and his rebound cleared off the line. Shortly afterwards, Brighton loanee Meekums shot wide from six yards when the ball fell favourably as the hosts missed another opportunity to extend their lead.
Covolan got down low to his left to keep out Jay Gasson's header on 80 minutes, before the visitors equalised five minutes later. A penalty was harshly given for handball and Macklin sent Covolan the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick to level.
Macklin then completed his hat-trick with an emphatic finish into the roof of the net two minutes from time.
That was not the end of the drama, though, as Ross Edwards' shot was handled late on and Pamment equalised from the penalty spot to earn Worthing a deserved draw.
WORTHING: Covolan; Young, Watson, Cadman; Newton, Hallard, Edwards, Pamment, Sparks; Meekums, Rance. Subs: Williamson, Rents, Wrightman, Boiling, Schneider.