Nine-man Worthing lose thrilling derby with Lewes

Ricky Aguiar. Picture by Marcus Hoare
Ricky Aguiar. Picture by Marcus Hoare

Nine-man Worthing lost a thrilling derby to Lewes at Woodside Road on Saturday.

Worthing were reduced to 10 men after Ricky Aguiar was sent off, before James Hammond put the visitors in front with a stunning shot from the halfway line.

Ollie Pearce equalised with a fantastic free-kick but Charlie Coppola regained the lead for Lewes just before half-time.

Luke Blewden added to Lewes’s lead in the second half before Jalen Jones headed home to put Worthing back in the game.

Callum Overton added another for Lewes in added time, but Pearce slotted in penalty - though Darren Budd was sent off not long before.

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Manager Adam Hinshelwood made three changes from Worthing's midweek win against Whitehawk, bringing in Jared Rance, Jasper Pattenden, and Joe Clarke after Jesse Starkey and Alex Parsons suffered hamstring injuries.

The Reds looked energetic from the get-go, centre-backs Aarran Racine and signing Jones forming a solid partnership alongside Danny Barker that could also play out from the back, giving the attacking forces free reign to run at the Lewes defence.

But Worthing's momentum was derailed on 26 minutes when Aguiar was sent off after he fouled Omarr Lawson outside the box.

Fortunes flipped quickly for Worthing, Hammond hammering a shot from the halfway line over Perntreou and under the bar on 31 minutes, the referee eventually giving the goal after consulting the linesman.

But the Reds responded quickly, Pearce whipping a free-kick into the corner minutes later to bring things back to level terms.

Worthing again received a knock after David Ajiboye was forced off with a hamstring injury before Coppola put the visitors ahead just before half-time, his shot taking a deflection and nestling in the bottom corner of Perntreou's goal.

Worthing were then hit with a devastating one-two punch after the second half. Blewden extended the visitors’ lead after Perntreou saved Kieron Pamment's shot, then the commanding Racine was also forced off through injury.

But young Pattenden handed the Reds a lifeline in the 71st minute, curling a corner for Jones to head home his second goal in his first two matches for the side.

But yet another injury came Worthing's way, Barker being forced off clutching his hamstring.

Worthing's fate was sealed in the 91st minute, substitute Callum Overton firing home.

But Clarke was fouled in the box, Pearce slotting home the resulting penalty - not before Darren Budd was sent off with a second yellow for dissent.

Worthing: Perntreou, Colbran, Jones, Clarke, Barker, Racine © (Budd), Ajiboye (Kealy), Aguiar, Pearce, Pattenden, Rance. Subs: Miles, Budd (Racine), Rents, Skerry, Kealy (Ajiboye). Att: 1,124.