Loxwood 0-2 Worthing Utd
December 2, 2011 - Sussex County League, Division 2
Worthing United produced a battling performance to overcome Loxwood away on Saturday to keep them in third place in the table. United with a number of unavailability’s fielded their youngest starting 11 in over 10 years with a makeshift defence of Mitchell Hand, Paul Young, Joe Stokes and Sam Corkill due to the unavailability’s of Julian Curnow and Seb Di Paola and with Neil Francis on his way back from injury taking a place on the bench. Dave Herbert returned to the side after a three game absence and on a heavy pitch the Worthing side knew they would be in for a tough afternoon.
Loxwood started the better side and playing down the hill their pacy right winger was causing Mitchell Hand a number of problems and with the team trying to get settled after the forced changes Loxwood took the game to them. Loxwood had two good chances in this spell, the first was a shot that hit the post and bounced to safety and then with Neil Francis replacing the injured Hand on 15 minutes he was immediately called into action heading a shot off the line after Phillips was beaten. United began to find their feet and with Francis quietening down their right winger they began to control the half with some superb passing interplay and wing work in particular down the right with Rayner and Corkill and with Herbert linking things up and Boutwood and Nicholson again looking dangerous they began to create chances of their own. The first was a lovely interchange setting Nicholson through on his left foot but one on one with the keeper his shot was well smothered. Minutes later Corkill should have scored from close range and then Herbert through on goal seemed to delay his shot allowing him to be closed down. The breakthrough came when a great move involving Meehan, Shelley and Herbert set Nicholson free down the left and his superb cross was finished at the back post by Boutwood for his second in as many games. Loxwood continued to be a threat on the counter attack but the real open defending that was an issue for United in the opening 20 minutes had now gone and fewer real chances were created in the rest of the half as United dominated possession and but for a final ball or the right decision could have been in a few more times.
The second half was Loxwood’s, United with their makeshift defence were under pressure for long spells but to their enormous credit they held firm and never gave much away. United had accepted that the half would be all about battle and commitment and showed that they have this side of their game as they dug in, worked hard for each other and gave their all. Loxwood were struggling to breakdown a resolute United and created little of note in the first 20 minutes of the half and United had the better chance when Boutwood broke clear down the right but his shot cannoned off the upright and away to safety with the keeper beaten. United looked a bit leggy and also had a bit of an issue with shape and so Paul Brown was introduced to hope to retain possession and the with Sam Corkill succumbing to injury Joe Shiel was introduced at right back making the defence even more inexperienced, United were holding on a little. Loxwood had their two best chances in this spell when Steve Phillips made a great save down at his feet and then much like Herbert’s chance in the first half, Loxwood, in a similar position dwelled on the ball and the chance was gone. With minutes to go Joe Shelley was sent off for a second bookable offence which was a little harsh but Paul Brown alert to a defensive lapse won the ball off the last man and calmly slotted past the helpless keeper to ensure there were no last minute nerves and United were able to see out the remaining minutes for some well deserved points.
United manager: “This was a great result for us under the circumstances. I think Loxwood is one of the hardest places to go and they are a good side who should be higher up the league. We had such an inexperienced side today but they all mucked in and ground out a result, something they are learning to do now. Every week they are maturing and I have high hopes for these youngsters. Shelley, Rayner and Meehan were immense and I was very pleased with Steve in goal, Gio, Youngy, Stokes and Sam for giving a determined display at the back and Asa and Barney are looking good together which is pleasing. We have to maintain these levels and continue the things we are doing. We are now able to win ugly which has not always been the case this season and I hope the lads take all the positives on board and we continue to develop”.
27 min - Barney Boutwood (8/10)
87 min - Paul Brown (7/10)