High-flying Havant hold on to beat Worthing

Worthing Football Club suffered a third successive league defeat when they lost 2-1 at home to Havant & Waterlooville this evening.

Worthing striker Omar Bugiel.
Worthing striker Omar Bugiel.

The visitors struck twice in a five-minute spell midway through the second half and although Worthing got a goal back through Omar Bugiel in a spirited showing, the Hawks held on return to the top of the Ryman League Premier Division table.

Havant included a host of players with Football League experience in their squad. Former Welsh international Brian Stock, who played for Bournemouth and Preston, was due to captain the Hawks but pulled out in the warm-up with a hamstring injury.

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However, the visitors still included George Barker, Wes Fogden, Lee Molyneaux and James Hayter in their squad, while former Bognor duo, Jason Prior and Alfie Rutherford, started up front.

For Worthing, joint manager Gary Elphick and Ross Edwards returned to the starting line-up in place of Corey Heath and Brannon O'Neill.

In a lively start, Lloyd Dawes just failed to get on the end of a Will Hendon through ball on ten minutes, before Havant winger Fogden limped off and was replaced by Ben Swallow on 16 minutes.

Havant's Andreas Robinson sent a shot just past the post from 20 yards on 22 minutes and Worthing had their first opportunity four minutes later. Ross Edwards did well to meet Sam Rents' inswinging free kick but his header was comfortably saved by Hawks keeper Ryan Young.

Worthing had the ball in the back of the net on 33 minutes but Dawes' effort was ruled out for a foul on Young. Omar Bugiel slipped a pass through and the ball broke loose as Dawes slid in with the visiting keeper but referee Tristan Greaves blew for a foul, before Dawes turned it home.

The hosts had a great chance just three minutes later as Dawes played in Bugiel, who took the opening with the oustide of his right foot and shot straight at Young from 12 yards.

Havant had the first opening of the second half but Prior was unable to guide his header from Ben Swallow's cross on target from eight yards out.

Worthing again threatened from a Rents free kick on 56 minutes but Dawes' glancing header was comfortably saved by Young.

Havant went ahead just five minutes later as Barker was left unmarked from a right-wing cross and drilled home from eight yards. Worthing threatened to equalise immediately but Dawes' low drive was superby kept out by Young, diving low to his right.

The visitors doubled their lead on 66 minutes when Barker turned provider and laid the ball off to Rutherford, who cut and fired home from 15 yards.

Worthing got a goal back on 70 minutes when Dawes challenged a Havant defender and the ball broke kindly for Bugiel to slot past Young from 18 yards.

Havant went close to restoring their two-goal lead on 72 minutes but Jack Fagan kept out Molyneaux's toe-poked shot on the line.

Dawes threatened an equaliser but was denied by Young at his near post on 83 minutes and the visitors survived late pressure to return home with all three points.

WORTHING: Fagan; Hendon, Cook, Elphick (Boiling 65), Rents; Newton, Wills, Edwards, Sparks (O'Neill 71); Bugiel, Dawes. Subs: Belward, Waller, Newhouse.