Worthing win a thriller to beat Whitstable

Rebels' Harvey Sparks
Rebels' Harvey Sparks

WORTHING Football Club made it three successive wins with a thrilling 5-3 victory at home to Whitstable this afternoon.

Rebels led the Ryman League South Division match 3-1 at the break with goals from Matt Axell, Brannon O’Neill and Callum Overton.

Whitstable fought back to level with just 15 minutes to play but Worthing made sure of the points with two goals in the space of six minutes from Harvey Sparks and Ben Pope.

Worthing took the lead after just eight minutes when Sparks went on a mazy run and found Overton, who cut the ball back for Axell to side foot home from a couple of yards out.

Sparks had a shot tipped over by Whitstable keeper Adam Highstead, before Rebels doubled their lead after a spell of pressure on 19 minutes.

After neat interplay around the penalty area, Sparks crossed for O’Neill to knock the ball home from two yards.

Rebels appeared to be in cruise control but they gifted Whitstable a goal back on 27 minutes. O’Neill’s misplaced pass let in Charlie Smith, who skipped past Corey Heath and slotted the ball under Worthing keeper Rikki Banks from 12 yards.

Worthing captain Steve Metcalf had a curling effort saved by Highstead on 31 minutes, before Rebels restored their two-goal lead on 38 minutes. A lovely pass by Axell released Pope, whose cross-shot was bundled home at the back post by Overton.

Rebels’ Will Hendon blazed over from eight yards two minutes into the second half, before Overton went on a mazy run after 55 minutes but his shot was blocked.

Hendon then headed over from Sparks’ cross two minutes later as Worthing remained in control during the early stages of the second half.

Worthing again went close on the hour when O’Neill clipped a free kick over the top of Whitstable’s defence but substitute Lloyd Dawes, with his first touch, volleyed into the side netting.

The visitors got another goal back a minute later when they were awarded a soft-looking penalty after Kieron Campbell went down under a Dawes challenge. Sam Bewick scored from the spot to make it 3-2.

Dawes again went close on 63 minutes when he met O’Neill’s corner but Highstead kept out his header. Metcalf then had a blistering shot from 20 yards tipped over by Highstead on 67 minutes, before O’Neill’s looping cross dropped just wide of the far post a minute later.

Rebels were made to pay for not taking their chances when Whitstable equalised with 15 minutes to go. Campbell cut in from the left and his right-footed cross flew into the far corner of the net, possibly with a slight deflection.

The visitors were not level for long as Rebels went back ahead four minutes later. Pope played in Sparks, who was allowed too much time and space and he took a touch and fired home low into the far corner from 12 yards as he netted for the third successive game.

Two minutes later, Worthing made sure of the points as they went 5-3 ahead when Pope fired home low inside the near post from 20 yards.

Both sides went close in injury-time as Rebels’ Pope had a low drive well saved, before Jack Fagan, who replaced Rikki Banks at half-time, tipped over a header from Smith.

WORTHING: Banks; Hendon, Hurley, Heath, Metcalf; Overton, O’Neill, Axell, Sparks; Bugiel, Pope. Subs: Fagan (Banks 45), Dawes (Overton 59), Morey, Quirke, Piper. Att: 403.

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