Worthing earn late Trophy replay in front of bumper crowd
Substitute Sam Lemon's equaliser five minutes from time kept Worthing Football Club's FA Trophy dreams alive as they drew 2-2 at home to Sutton United this afternoon.
Going into the match on the back of a 13-game unbeaten run, Worthing went ahead through Omar Bugiel three minutes before half-time but the National League visitors fought back to go 2-1 ahead with second half goals from Roarie Deacon and Adam May. However, Worthing forced a replay when 17-year-old Lemon headed home the equaliser five minutes from time.
Worthing included 16-year-olds Matt Boiling and Luke Brodie in their line-up, as Jack Cook was ruled out with the knee injury he sustained in Tuesday's 5-0 win against Canvey Island and Arron Hopkinson was cup-tied.
In front of a 1,398 crowd at Woodside Road, the visitors threatened first on seven minutes when Deacon's corner was flicked goalwards by Jamie Collins and Craig Dundas's close-range header went over off the top of the bar.
At the other end, Lloyd Dawes, who went into the game after hat-tricks in his past two matches, broke forward three minutes later but fired well wide from 25 yards with team-mates up in support.
Dawes then went close twice in quick succession midway through the half. Sutton keeper Ross Worner produced an outstanding save to keep out a fierce strike from 12 yards on 20 minutes, before Dawes crashed an effort against the bar from 15 yards two minutes later after the visitors failed to clear Sam Rents' free kick.
Worthing keeper Jack Fagan was called into action to push away Deacon's low 25-yard drive on 27 minutes, before the visitors' Bradley Hudson-Odoi's teasing cross dropped just wide of the far post eight minutes later.
Hudson-Odoi went even closer four minutes later when he cut in from the right and his left-footed shot clipped the top of the bar.
With Sutton starting to get on top, Worthing took the lead three minutes before half-time. The ball broke for Bugiel just inside Worthing's half after Dawes challenged a Sutton defender from Luke Brodie's long clearance; from there, it was all about Worthing's German striker as he burst forward and found the bottom corner, via a slight deflection, for his 22nd goal of the season.
The visitors made a double substitution at the break but Dawes had a great chance to double Worthing's advantage four minutes into the second half but took a touch too many and got crowded out as Worner came out to smother the ball.
Fagan held a Craig McAlister header from a corner moments later at the other end, before Sutton equalised on 52 minutes. The ball fell kindly for Deacon and he drilled home low inside the post from the edge of the penalty area.
Worthing almost went back immediately as Bugiel's low cross found Kane Wills but he was unable to turn the ball home from close range.
Sutton's Bedsente Gomis's low 20-yard strike was spilled by Fagan and cleared from danger on 62 minutes, before Worthing made their first change as Sam Lemon replaced Brodie a minute later.
Sutton were denied by the woodwork for a third time on 68 minutes when McAlister's 15-yard shot cannoned off the bar and to safety.
With the pressure increasing on Worthing, Craig Eastmond glanced a header wide on 75 minutes before they took the lead four minutes later. Worthing failed to clear a Sutton corner and after a couple of blocked shots, May fired home from close range.
Worthing kept going and drew level five minutes from time when Dawes got in down the right and crossed for 17-year-old Lemon to head home his first senior goal.
Both teams then pressed for a winner. Dawes' powerful shot was pushed out by Worner and Ross Edwards headed Rents' corner over, before Fagan made excellent saves to keep out shots from Maxime Biamou and Deacon as Worthing earned a replay.
WORTHING: Fagan; Hendon, Boiling, Heath, Rents; Brodie (Lemon 63), Wills, Edwards, Sparks; Dawes, Bugiel. Subs: Watson, Belward, Hallard, Schneider.
SUTTON: Worner; Beckwith, Collins, Hudson-Odoi (Biamou 45), Gomis (Monakana 68), McAlister, May, Dundas (Eastmond 45), Bailey, Spence, Deacon. Subs: Fitchett, Downer.
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